Winners of voices of future generations writing competition crowned at awards ceremony

HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum awards children for their creativity and commitment to a more sustainable future

Winners of voices of future generations writing competition crowned at awards ceremony
  • Surprise messages of support from Dr Jane Goodall, Harry Baker and Dr Afra Atiq delight winners

Dubai: The 2021 winners of the Middle East edition of the Voices of Future Generations, the inspiring global writing competition for children, were announced today at an award ceremony at the Zabeel Ladies Club, Dubai. The unique writing initiative, launched under the patronage of UNESCO in 2015 and brought to the Middle East in 2019, was created to promote sustainability awareness and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The regional competition is organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation on behalf of HH Sheikha Hissa bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Goodwill Ambassador for the initiative for the Middle East Region, who commented: “I am so glad to see how this competition has helped so many children understand the impact we have on our planet and how it has inspired them to creatively find solutions for our environment through sustainable development goals.”

The initiative’s sister organisation Roots & Shoots UAE congratulated the children, with its Goodwill Ambassador for the region, HH Sheikha Maytha bint Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum saying: “Caring for our planet is the most important task for future generations. Initiatives like ours are designed to help them begin that process and instil in the children the knowledge that they can make a difference.”  

Children and their parents and teachers were delighted with a surprise greeting from the world’s leading primatologist, Dr Jane Goodall, the founder of Roots & Shoots, as well as World Slam Poetry Champion Harry Baker, who performed a new poem about the Sustainable Development Goals together with Emirati slam poetry favourite, Dr Afra Atiq.

The competition, for children aged 8 to 12, encourages children to write adventure stories about characters overcoming challenges and creating a more tolerant, sustainable world. The best entries are published in a book in Arabic and English and shared internationally. More than 900 entries were received in the 2021 round of the competition, a year-on-year increase of 50 per cent.

New for this year is The Gifted Writers’ Programme, a talent development programme in which the judges identify up to 50 strong writers from the submissions, who will be offered extra coaching from professional editors and the option to resubmit their stories in the coming cycle. 

The winners are:

Winners in the Arabic category:

  • Moza and The Ghaf Tree, Abdulla Ismail Abushabab, Crescent International School Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi
  • Safa and the Angry Sea, Seba Awadh Mohammed Almusad, Buthaina bint Noman Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia
  • What’s Behind the Village Mystery, Mezna Najeeb, Al Alfia Primary School for Girls, Dubai

Winners in the English category:

  • The Beacon, Abrar Sirohey, DUNEHA Group (Dubai & Northern Emirates Homeschool Association), Dubai
  • Sahana and Food Sustainability, Kripa Dixit, Uptown International School, Dubai
  • Inspiration to Desperation, Inayah Fathima Faeez, Gems United Indian School, Abu Dhabi

Isobel Abulhoul, CEO and Trustee of the Emirates Literature Foundation said: “We are so proud to be part of this initiative. Children are the future, and the planet is theirs to inherit. Stories can, and frequently do, change the world, so this is the perfect way for so many children to channel all their passion and talent into building a better tomorrow.”

The competition is open to children aged 8-12, writing for children aged 6 and above. All entries must be between 600-1,500 words long, in Arabic or English. The stories should feature one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the writer’s hopes, dreams or aspirations for a sustainable future. Entries are open to all children resident in the Gulf region and in full-time education, including those home schooling. Registrations for the third year are now open and the competition will close in the first half of 2022.

For more details see 

More information about the Emirates Literature Foundation can be found online and year-round news of #EmiratesLitFest on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. The Foundation also has two podcasts; the Best of the Emirates LitFest, and the Boundless Book Club. 


The Voices of Future Generations Initiative was launched on the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child by a consortium of partners including World Future Council, Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights in the Government of Hungary, and the Trust for Sustainable Living, under the patronage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

For more information, please contact: 

About the Emirates Literature Foundation:

The Emirates Literature Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which supports and nurtures a love of literature in the United Arab Emirates and the region, through a programme of varied cultural initiatives.

Established in 2013 by Royal Decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Foundation aims to foster a love for literature, with a focus on the Arabic language.

In line with the National Reading Policy of the UAE, the Foundation has implemented several long-term projects including the School Librarian of the Year Award, Kateb Maktub, and From the Inside Out, as well as conducting year-round student education programmes, book clubs and creative writing courses. The Foundation’s previous initiatives included the 2020 International Literary Festivals Conference, 2016 Dubai Translation Conference and the 2017 Dubai International Publishing Conference.

The Foundation is also the governing body of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the UAE’s premier literary festival.

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