“In my stories, I hope you find what contributes to the future of your beautiful countries,” wrote Sheikh Mohammed.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, dedicated signed copies of his latest book “My Story” to the Arab Reading Challenge (ARC) semi-finalists as they continue to compete for the grand prize.
“In my stories, I hope you find what contributes to the future of your beautiful countries,” wrote Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum on a personal note addressing each of the 16 contestants who received their surprise in the second episode of the Arab Reading Challenge TV show.
The book records Sheikh Mohammed’s journey of 50 years in public service through a collection of 50 personal anecdotes and stories and presents historical milestones that helped shape the growth of the UAE and Dubai.
Besides receiving the book, contestants officially began competing in the second episode through a number of competitive challenges.
The two groups of eight joined an edutainment challenge through which they had to choose one person to whom they can dedicate a book they have read, and present their answer in one minute to the judging panel.
The second challenge involved summarising a book of their choice in 280 characters to engage social media users. Through both challenges, the judging panel evaluated the knowledge of the first group of contestants and their ability to communicate their ideas in Arabic.
Four of the first group’s eight contestants have entered the danger zone, which threatens their continuation in the semi-finals if they do not score high performance in the coming episodes. Mauritanian Umm Al Nasr Mamin, Saudi Fahad Shuja Al Habout, Egyptian Shaima Ali Basyouni and Omani Sumaya Bint Sami Al Mafrajieh were the first four to enter the danger zone.
Besides the suspense and excitement that the challenges have created, the second episode filmed the contestants’ visit to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a major cultural landmark in the UAE. The semi-finalists were introduced to some of the world’s prominent artists and painters through different eras in history.
The first-of-its-kind edutainment reality show continues every Friday at 9pm UAE timing on MBC1, leading up to the final episode that broadcasts the winner announcement live from the Dubai Opera. The show is the outcome of a partnership between Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and MBC to transform the ARC semi-finals to a TV show that engages the Arab audiences and celebrates young readers whose persistence and resilience led them as far in the competition.
Through different elimination stages, contestants will be narrowed down to five finalists, among which the Arab Reading Champion 2019 will be crowned. The winner will take home Dh500,000 in prize money, as part of Dh11 million worth of cash prizes.
An earlier report said the Arab Reading Challenge, the first-of-its kind reality television show, was set to go on air on Friday, 27th September, on MBC1, where millions of viewers could tune in for the first episode at 9pm UAE time, and watch 16 semi-finalists from 14 countries compete during eight episodes to become the Arab Reading Champion 2019.
Viewers will closely follow the progress and performance of the contestants as they take part in a set of challenges and activities, and answer tough questions before a panel of judges. The show, which will air every Friday, will provide an insight into the evaluation process of the contestants, filtering them down to five finalists who will reach the final ceremony, which will see the announcement of the winner on the last episode to be broadcast live.
The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives turned the semi-finals of the challenge into a TV show this year to highlight the importance of reading in shaping young personalities and recognising young readers who worked tirelessly to develop their personalities and reach this far into the competition.
The show is produced by Fremantle, the creators of widely-acclaimed talent shows, including "The X Factor" and "Arabs Got Talent".
"We are stronger with Arab youth who believe in the power of words," tweets Sheikh Mohammed.
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