Nine year old Moroccan Mariam Amjoun could not hold back her tears when she was declared the Arab Reading Champion 2018 but what was heartwarming during the final ceremony was to see Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, using his Ghutra (national headwear) to wipe away her tears. She took home a trophy and Dh 500,000 as cash prize. Selection was based on her comprehension of 50 books she had read, her communication skill in Arabic, critical and creative thinking and general knowledge. Outperforming five finalists, her answers to the judging panel impressed the live audience that she was voted by them to receive this award.
Outstanding School prize of Dh 1 million went to Al Ekhlas School, Kuwait for its initiatives and programs to inculcate reading habit at a young age. Aisha Al Tuwairki from Soudi Arabia won Dh 300,000 prize for outstanding supervisor.
Congratulating the winners Sheikh Mohammed said knowledge will bring development and change societies for the better. On her win, Amjoun said that she had preparing since 2017 by reading, summarizing and analyzing books which at times was challenging. She wants to be an architect when she grows up.