The 4th edition of the challenge has attracted 13.5 million students from 49 countries.
The thrill continues as four more Arab Reading Challenge semi-finalists enter the danger zone after gruelling challenges that set contestants apart.
The second group’s eight contestants took part in two challenges during the third episode of the Arab Reading Challenge TV show before the judging panel placed four in the danger zone.
Mezna Najeeb from the UAE, Raneem Hamouda from Egypt, Bushra Assiri from Bahrain and Hadeel Al Zoubir from Sudan will further compete with the last week’s danger-zoned contestants in the next episode that will see the first stage of elimination of four semi-finalists. The upcoming fourth episode will narrow semi-finalists down to 12 contestants to continue their competitive race towards the grand title: The Arab Reading Champion 2019.
The third episode, aired on Friday, saw contestants undergoing different challenges that involved to selecting an inspiring book character and presenting their choice in a one-minute talk before the three-member judging panel. The second challenge, meanwhile, involved drafting an engaging and short social media post of an inspirational quote from a book and their take on the author’s words.
The judging panel evaluated the contestants’ reading choices, creative expression, quick wit, analytical and critical thinking and ability to communicate and articulate accurately in Arabic.
Last week’s contestants moved to the danger zone were Umm Nasri Mamin from Mauritania, Fahad Shuja Al Habout from Saudi Arabia, Shaima Ali Basyouni from Egypt and Sumaya Bint Sami Al Mafrajieh from Oman. They will be seen again next week as they compete with the other contestants in the danger zone for one last chance to get closer to the grand prize.
Away from the competitive ambience, the semi-finalists shared moments of laughter as they met the Emirati sports commentator Fares Awad and tried to take on his role in a football match.
The weekly show airs every Friday at 9 p.m. on MBC1, taking Arab viewers on the evaluation and selection process of contestants in the largest-ever Arab literacy initiative that leads to the announcement of the winner who will take home Dh500,000 in prize money, as part of Dh11 million worth of cash prizes.
The show aims to celebrate inspiring young Arab readers and highlight their success stories in an edutainment format, encouraging young people to follow suit and take up reading as a lifestyle, while preserving their language.
The Arab Reading Challenge, the first-of-its kind reality television show, was set to go on air on 27 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.
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". The winner, to be announced in November at a grand ceremony at the Dubai Opera, will take home Dhs500,000 as part of the challenge.
The 4th edition of the challenge has attracted 13.5 million students from 49 countries, a fourfold rise from the first edition, which saw 3.5 million students from 15 countries in 2016.
Moroccan Mariam Amjoun was crowned the Arab Reading Champion last year, while Al Ekhlas School from Kuwait won the "best school" award, ahead of 52,000 schools. Out of 86,000 supervisors, Aisha Al Tuwairki from Saudi Arabia won the "outstanding supervisor" award.
In 2017, Palestinian Afaf Al Sharif, won the second edition of the Arab Reading Challenge. Al Iman School from Bahrain won the "best school" award, while Houriya Al Thil from Morocco won the "outstanding supervisor" award.Algerian student Abdullah Farah was the first Arab Reading Champion in 2016, and Tala'a Al Amal School from Palestine won the "best school" award.
The event, organised by the UAE Space Agency, is the largest gathering of global space industry leaders in the Middle East and North Africa.
She is Modhi Al Ali, a young Emirati girl who has become part of Manchester City FC’s global campaign to get more women playing football.
The organisers will donate a percentage of all revenue from registrations and sponsorship toward the programme.
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