A new index will soon be launched in Dubai to measure reading habits across the Arab region.
Set to be launched at the upcoming annual Knowledge Summit in Dubai, the Arab Reading Index will reveal results from a massive survey conducted across countries including the UAE, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.
The summit, organised by Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will hold its third edition from December 5-7.
It will explore the current status of reading in the Arab world as measured against international indices.
The index “embodies MBRF’s belief in the unequivocal role that reading plays in the process of acquiring knowledge,” said Jamal Bin Huwaireb, managing director of MBRF.
It is an “effective tool that tracks knowledge-related initiatives and measures their impact on communities in the Arab region”, the foundation said.
The index also comes in line with the UAE’s ‘Year of Reading 2016’ initiative launched by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the ‘National Strategy for Reading’ and all the projects it entailed.
One of the sessions at the summit will examine the potential of current initiatives to develop the state of reading in the Arab region and to spread a reading culture among the youth. A special focus will be placed on the Arab Reading Challenge initiative.
The initiative, launched last year by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Dubai’s Ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, will see with more than a million students committing to read 50 million extracurricular books during one academic year.
A total of $3m (Dhs11m) will be offered as awards to participating schools, students, their families, and supervisors from across the Arab world as monetary and motivational incentives.
The challenge aims to encourage reading on a continuous basis through follow-up mechanisms throughout the year.
The summit this year will also feature sessions that focus on future policies that can spread tolerance and open-mindedness and build bridges between cultures.
Other sessions will explore the influence that social media can wield on its traditional counterparts.
“Knowledge is a true cornerstone when it comes to building societies, and the main pillar that supports a nation’s progress, its sustainable development, and the welfare of its people,” said Huwaireb.
“It is the only true wealth that we need to invest in if we want to establish the UAE’s stature among the advanced nations in the world. It is the sector we need to be paying most attention to if we want to develop our societies, and eventually turn them into productive, intelligent, and creative communities, able to achieve comprehensive development.”