Just over a month after being crowned the national competition winner of the third Arab Reading Challenge (ARC), Shamsa Al Naqbi, who represented the UAE in the ARC finals on Tuesday, said competitions like ARC are "wonderful in challenging people to pursue a habit of knowledge building".
"I'm the Emirati student who won the national leg of the Arab Reading Challenge, but I want people to know that it shouldn't be just the competition that is celebrated, it should be the movement of making reading a habit that continues long after."
Speaking on the sidelines of SIBF on Wednesday, she said following the commencement of such a global competition, it is now up to the UAE residents to take it a step forward and make reading a part of their daily lives.
"You know, it shouldn't just be a competition that encourages people to read. That is just a platform. Now we've been made aware of the importance of reading and knowledge building, lets do something about it. Pick up a book."
To qualify as the national representative for the ARC, Al Naqbi had to read 50 books comprising five levels of difficulty, before writing a small analysis of each book.
"They really pushed each participant, and that reflection phase after reading the book was a great way of showcasing what skills and knowledge was picked up as a result of reading each book."
Citing today's addictive habits when it comes to digital platforms like social media or online video streaming sites, Al Naqbi made reference to the recently announced winner of ARC, 9-year-old Moroccan, Mariam Amjounthe.
"You can't be too young or too old to read. And knowledge building doesn't have a start or end date. Age really isn't a number and the winner proved that. I strongly believe that I can learn from young people just as much as I can old.
"It's about communicating that knowledge you have learnt with others. She has inspired a whole generation through her dedication; and she has certainly inspired me."
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