Under the auspices of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program will be launching, the second phase of the “Aqdar” Writing Initiative in mid-May, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

Major General Dr. Nasser Lakhrebani Al Nuaimi, Secretary General of the Office of HH Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program “Aqdar”, stressed the importance of such initiatives in developing students’ reading skills, by providing them with access to books on various subjects, to enrich their knowledge, wither via traditional methods or via innovative technological methods. He also stressed the vital importance of such initiatives in facing the lack of reading interest in the Arab World.

He added that the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program has adopted the “Aqdar” writing initiative, implemented under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, in cooperation with the Ketab Foundation. The initiative aims at encouraging creative students and teachers in various scientific, literary and other fields, in accordance with the ‘National Charter for Students’ Awareness’. “This would create a valuable set of student-oriented books penned by students themselves, who are better positioned to understand students’ needs and the nature of the development they go through.”

For his part, Colonel Dr. Ibrahim Al Dabal, General Coordinator of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program, stressed the initiative aims at activating the “National Charter for Students’ Awareness, with the aim of unifying the existing national efforts, within a comprehensive strategic vision that operated within the framework of four key themes, namely national awareness, personal skills, health and safety, and the prevention of crime.

Adding further, he pointed out that the initiative will contribute to enhance students' skills and to enrich the cultural scene with the intellectual fruits of distinguished Emirati students and youth of different ages. “This initiative falls in line with the UAE's culture, which is based on the national agenda and its objectives designed to maintain a cohesive community that cherishes its identity and belonging,” he noted. Furthermore, he explained that these objectives are achieved through the provision of a comprehensive environment that integrates the various segments of society, maintains the UAE culture, heritage and traditions and strives to enhance Emirati students’ knowledge and preserve their stature among the world’s best students in knowledge and literacy evaluation tests.

The General Coordinator of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program said that the “Aqdar” Writing Initiative will open new horizons for culture and thought in the UAE. “In ten years, we will have approximately 1,000 Emirati writers equipped with culture and infused with national spirit,” he indicated. Moreover, Colonel Al Dabal pointed out that the  as a part of its future plans, the program seeks to qualify national writers who author books in English, and involve private schools in the program. In conclusion, Colonel Al Dabal stressed that a nation that reads is a nation that innovates.

For her part, Sharifa Moussa, Advisor at the Office of H.E Minister of Education, and Head of the ‘Aqdar’ Writing Initiative team, said: “During this month, the students and teachers at schools affiliated to the Ministry of Education will be invited to take part in the second phase of the initiative through the ministry's website.” He also noted that the preparations currently underway for the new batch of participants will achieve the desired success thanks to the support of the first batch of the distinguished students and teachers who recently signed their creative works at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, and will contribute to strengthen the skills of new participants in the areas of literary writing.

She also explained that participants in the new batch will attend training workshops in cooperation with Kuttab Publishing House, with participation of reputed writers and authors in the fields of novel, poetry, drama, essay, and short story. Participants will also receive training on the basics of creative writing and literary writing techniques. They will be acquainted with the different writing genres and methods; writing techniques, and writing retreats. The workshops will be based on the ‘National Charter for Students’ Awareness’ within the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program. In conclusion, she noted that this year, attention will be dedicated to further boost skills and discuss the topics and themes of their second publications.  

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior had attended the signing of a number of books authored by Emirati students and teachers, which include a variety of novels, stories and literary publications that tackle national issues, as a part of the ‘Aqdar’ Writing Initiative. This initiative is one of the numerous campaigns launched by the United Arab Emirates, in support of creativity and excellence, to prepare educated and knowledgeable youth, empowered through literature, so as to enhance the cultural, literary, artistic and educational movement in the country.

It is worth mentioning that the ‘Aqdar’ Writing Initiative was launched last December in order to support male and female students who show creativity in all fields of writing, in order to promote literary and enrich the cultural scene with the intellectual fruits of distinguished Emirati students of different ages. It also aims to introduce students and teachers to leading figures of literature in the UAE and the region, as well as enhance the role of students and teachers in developing cultural and literary movements in the UAE.

The ‘Aqdar’ Writing Initiative opened new knowledge horizons for students and prepared them to fulfill a leading role in the literary arena. A significant number of students and teachers applied for the initiative, and exceeded all expectations. Applicants underwent interviews according to strict criteria in order to reach the finals, which included schools affiliated to the Ministry of Education.
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