Dubai – MENA Herald: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), in cooperation with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF), has launched the Reading is Positive Energy exhibition at Zabeel Park in Dubai. The move is part of DEWA’s efforts to support the directives of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan, President of the UAE, who declared 2016 as the Year of Reading and was approved by the UAE Cabinet under the leadership of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The exhibition was opened HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, HE Jamal bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of the MBRF, HE Marwan Al Sawaleh, Undersecretary of Ministry of Education, Khalid Ali Bin Zayed, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality, officials from DEWA and MBRF, government departments and organisations in Dubai and the UAE, a large number of students and teachers from the International School of Arts and Science in Dubai, Al Saada School, Al Baraa Kindergarten, and the media.
The Reading is Positive Energy exhibition will be open for whole year, to promote both reading and Emirati writers. The exhibition features different cultural and knowledge corners and sections. These include a permanent book exhibition, the Reading is Positive Energy’s Forum, Children’s Knowledge World, Smart Reading Corner, Reading Sensory Wall, Emirati Majlis, and a cultural café. During his inaugural speech, Al Tayer thanked the MBRF, Dubai Municipality and the Ministry of Education.
“It is our pleasure to cooperate in this vital project with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, the leading organisation for disseminating, transferring and localising knowledge. The Foundation launches several initiatives to contribute to building a knowledge-based society to support the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to further reinforce Dubai’s position as a global city with a strong knowledge-based economy. This also supports the vision of our wise leadership to promote reading and establish the UAE as a capital of content, culture and knowledge, promote Arabic as a language, and encourage reading by making books available, to ensure a positive change in society. This is achieved by raising a cultured generation of readers who contribute to enhancing the country’s cultural development,” said Al Tayer.
“His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum once observed that, “A reading society embraces civilised values, is flexible and adaptable and has the intellectual capacity to drive development to take a role in our multicultural world.” These words summarise the vision of our wise leadership to build a reading society in the UAE. Our leadership realises the importance of reading to the lives of people and its effect in their progress and development. This vision is clearly reflected in the leading initiatives that enhance the value of knowledge, science and people development. These efforts include the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, to start the legislative procedure of drafting the National Reading Law, to institutionalise and sustain efforts and make reading an integral part of the work and responsibilities of government organisations. Efforts also include the National Policy for Reading in the UAE, which includes several programmes working in an integrated manner and in parallel to change the status of reading in UAE society by 2026 and make it a way of life. National targets for reading include raising reading rates to 80% among students and 50% among adults. The national reading strategy is backed by a AED100 million fund. The UAE has made significant achievements, developments, and growth in several areas in record time. The country is now at the corner of a new phase characterised by knowledge and innovation as part of its race to achieve the UAE Vision 2021 to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world when we celebrate the golden jubilee of our union. I would like to recall the words of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who said that Educating people is a great wealth that we cherish and education is a wealth as we build the future in a scientific manner,” added Al Tayer.
“DEWA not only provides electricity and water services according to the highest levels of excellence, reliability and efficiency, but is also a socially-responsible government organisation. It cooperates with the public and private sectors to establish a knowledge-based environment. This supports our objectives of raising a generation with a passion for culture, reading, and knowledge, across all society. DEWA’s knowledge centres contain thousands of paper and digital books and resources in different areas. DEWA opens its libraries to students to instil a habit of reading in the younger generation. DEWA also cooperates with Al Bayan newspaper in issuing the cultural weekly supplement. Reading opens the mind and is a habit shared by successful people around the world,” noted Al Tayer.
“We hope that the ‘Reading is Positive Energy’ exhibition will enhance a reading of culture and ignite a passion for reading in society to build a generation that has a passion for reading and learning more about science and knowledge. DEWA will continue its social role to achieve the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who observed that, “We want the UAE to be a beacon of science and knowledge, just as Andalusia, Granada, Baghdad and other Arab nations were sources of enlightenment and knowledge for centuries. And we are capable, ready and sure of our ability to achieve that.” Preparing generations for the future will be achieved only through science, culture, and reading using well-thought-out programmes and initiatives that widen their knowledge and encourage them to innovate and have a passion for continuing education. Our combined efforts will bear great results for future generations and will create a role model for an Emirati reader, thinker and innovator. This will contribute to building a brighter future for generations to come,” added Al Tayer.
“We hope that this exhibition will be an important pillar for cultural- and knowledge-building in our beloved country. This is achieved through several activities that suit all of society. It celebrates books as best friends and the best knowledge value for mankind. It will help spread a culture of reading and encourage members of society to explore a wealth of information in books in an encouraging environment that motivates reading across its different corners. These include the Reading Exhibition corner, Reading Positive Energy Forum, Children’s Knowledge World, Smart Reading Corner, Reading Sensory Wall, Emirati Majlis, and a cultural café,” he said
“I thank the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for its fruitful cooperation and active role in this exhibition. I would also like to thank you for your participation. May Allah guide us all for the benefit of the UAE, its citizens, and residents,” concluded Al Tayer.
“At the outset, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to this new initiative to build on the country’s efforts to promote a culture of reading and support the development of knowledge in the UAE society. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority for its keen interest in providing outstanding projects to the community and its effective cooperation with Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation to launch the ‘Reading is Positive Energy’ exhibition. We are proud to launch this exhibition today at a time when His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, has given directions to start the legislative procedure of drafting a UAE National Reading Law as part of the National Policy for Reading in the UAE to consolidate reading in the UAE for all ages, as well as identify the key responsibilities of government agencies for this,” said bin Huwaireb.
“Also under the policy, the National Reading Strategy was adopted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Strategy carries through to 2026, and includes 30 main national initiatives sectors, including education, health, culture, social development and the media and content industries. Additionally, as part of the new initiatives, every year a month will be dedicated to reading. There is no doubt that these significant steps in the development of knowledge and reading in the UAE reflects the country’s transition to a new phase of development based on the diffusion and transfer and production of knowledge. Efforts are on to create a generation capable of accommodating other cultures, and expressing their culture in a civilised manner by making reading an integral part of their daily lives,” added bin Huwaireb.
“The plans and projects being implemented at the national level to encourage reading is are set to make the UAE a leader in the efforts to strengthen the status of Arab culture. This is a culture that has since the ancient times contributed to the establishment of science and scientific discoveries with Baghdad, Damascus, Aleppo, Fez, Marrakech and Cairo becoming major scientific centres for the whole world. The process of sustainable development in a community cannot be complete without the elements of excellence and progress. Certainly, knowledge is a major component of these elements, contributing to economic, scientific and cultural excellence, which is derived simply by reading. Today we offer our community the Reading is Positive Energy exhibition to spread a culture of reading throughout society by offering a distinct set of events that are specially-designed to stimulate a love of reading in both young and adults. We believe that the exhibition will help create a knowledge -based generation that is aware of all the developments taking place around them,” he added.
“We hope that the Reading is Positive Energy exhibition will benefit everyone and I invite everyone to visit the exhibition to take advantage of the events and activities offered under its umbrella throughout the coming year. The exhibition will be especially beneficial to the children who are the seeds of today but the fruits of tomorrow, and the foundation of the progress of the nations,” concluded bin Huwaireb.
Al Sawaleh commended the initiative, the strategic cooperation, and concerted efforts of federal and local government organisations in the UAE. He noted that the Ministry of Education will support the initiative by organising educational trips for the students to the exhibition.
Bin Zayed commended the efforts of DEWA and MBRF to implement this initiative. He noted that Dubai Municipality provides all the necessary facilities that contribute to such initiatives to achieve the shared goals.
The Reading is Positive Energy exhibition includes many corners in a big air-conditioned tent spread across 1,000 square metres near Gate 2 of Zabeel Park. These include a permanent book exhibition that will allocate a full month for Emirati publishers and will then host Arab and global publishers. It will also organise an exhibition for used books, and an exhibition for rare books. The Reading is Positive Energy Forum provides an open space for organisations and schools to take part in activities that raise the level of reading and enhance reading in society. It also features cultural activities including training workshops and knowledge competitions. The children’s Knowledge World corner features story-telling sessions that involve children and mothers to tell stories and learn from them. The Reading Sensory Wall helps students to write their own stories using their sight, touch, and hearing. The Smart Reading Corner provides the latest smart technologies and devices that help readers and motivates people to read. Schools are encouraged to participate in the Arab Reading Challenge where participating students will be asked to read stories, summarise, analyse, and then discuss them. There are also children’s games that help improve their focus and analytical skills. The Emirati Majlis includes a seating area to receive guests, and host authors and writers for book signings. At the ‘Today’s Children Read for Yesterday’s Children’ programme, children read short stories to young adults. Visitors can enjoy hot and cold drinks and cakes at the Coffee and a Book corner, while reading.