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AED 1 Million Etisalat Prize For Arab Children’s Literature Announced

Her Highness, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi has congratulated the winners of the Etisalat Prize for Arab Children’s Literature organised by the Sharjah-based Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum. The winners were announced on the opening day of the Sharjah World Book Fair.

Dar Al Hadaeq, a publishing house from Lebanon was adjudged the winner from among the shortlisted entries by an eminent jury for its book “Ana Oheb” (I Love). The author of the book is Nabeeha Muheidli with the illustrator being Nadine Saidani.

Hundreds of entries were received from around the Arab world for the Etisalat Prize for Arab Children’s Literature, a key initiative of the Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum. The Forum has decided to offer the prize on an annual basis to support and develop the publishing industry dedicated to Arab children’s literature, and encourage authors and illustrators in the field to further improve the quality of their work.

The jury consisted of respected professionals in the Arab world, who discharged their responsibilities in a transparent and fair manner. The jury included:

- Dr. Mohammed Al Ghazi (Tunisia), Head of the judging panel, a University professor and writer of children’s books
- Amira Abu Al Majd (Egypt), publisher of children’s books
- Mohammed Jamal Amro (Jordan), writer
- Lujaina Al Asil (Syria), writer 
- Sarah Odedina, a British expert in children’s book publishing

Her Highness, Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Consultant of the Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum, said: “We are proud to announce the winner of the Etisalat Prize for Arab Children’s Literature. This initiative of ours is to encourage publishers and authors of children’s books in Arabic to further improve their literary capabilities and raise the standards of the industry. As we join in celebrating the winning entry, we are confident that this prize will add immense value to the Arab children’s book publishing industry and help promote the reading habit among Arab children.

She added: “One of our key objectives through this initiative is to encourage and support Arab children to present their own perspectives and point of view on numerous topics and issues facing society, as well as highlight their Arab culture and lifestyle. This initiative is a boost to the cultural element in the Arab publishing industry, and will help enhance the collaboration between government organisations, educational and cultural institutions and the private sector to promote Arab children’s literature. We would like to thank all participants and those who extended their support to make this noble initiative a great success. We wish to express our special appreciation to Etisalat for sponsoring the prize”.

Mr. Abdul Aziz Taryam, General Manager of Etisalat, Northern Emirates, said: “Etisalat congratulates the winner, Dar Al Hadaeq on its achievement and contribution towards promoting Arab children’s literature. Etisalat is honoured to sponsor this prize and support this worthy initiative of the Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum. We would like to reaffirm our commitment to supporting educational and cultural activities of this
nature, as we believe in the importance of such causes that promote the reading habits of Arab children”.

Ms. Ehsan Al Suwaidi, General Coordinator of the Etisalat Prize, emphasized that the aim of this prize was to help develop the Arab children’s book publishing industry, and the role it played in stimulating the imagination, intellect and creativity of a child, building character and promoting good values.

Eng. Khalid Al Bilbaisy, Vice Chairman of the Arab Children’s Book Publisher’s Forum observed that the prize was extremely important and has become one of the most important and biggest activities of the Forum.

Commenting on the prize, Nabeeha Muheidli, the winning author, and manager of Dar Al Hadaeq, said: “We are honoured to win this noble prize, and wish to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Arab Children’s Book Publisher’s Forum and to all those who participated in making this a huge success. This prize will motivate us to publish more and even better books to further promote the reading habit among Arab children”.

During the Sharjah World Book Fair, the Arab Children’s Book Publishers Forum is also hosting two seminars to increase awareness on the Arabic publishing industry for children, and also promote the winning entry.

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