The International Peace Institute Middle East and North Africa (IPI MENA) hosted a presentation on the “Peace Readers Forum” with Sultan Buti Bin Mejren Al Marri, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for World Peace (MRAWP).
“Reading Forums” are MRAWP UAE Cabinet’s initiative following Abu Dhabi’s declaration of 2016 as the UAE Year of Reading. This is in line with the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who launched two initiatives focusing on the importance of reading in support of Arabic language—“Pulpits of Peace Readers” and “Peace Libraries”—in order to promote the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for World Peace.
Its first initiative, “Pulpits of Peace Readers,” relies on mobile electronic platforms. Visitors will be able to read book summaries and select books. Based on thier choices, the platform will allow them to sit on respective seats where the selected books will be ready to read. They will also be able to get print editions of important noted works, based on their selections. Three designated locations have been designed with accessibility in mind for interested parties with physical disabilities. These platforms will be moved to several malls in all the Emirates of UAE and the Gulf Countries.
The second initiative, “Peace Libraries,” are small libraries placed in residential complexes, based on the idea of “take a book, leave a book,” for the exchange of culture through reading. Dubai is teeming with more than 200 nationalities, so this will serve as a unique means of exchange of that cultural diversity. Both initiatives were launched in line with the declaration by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE of 2016 as the year of reading.
Mr. Al Marri emphasized his relationship with IPI MENA is a follow up on the initiative by the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in 2016 to promote peace through the activity of reading. MRAWP and IPI, MENA are joining efforts to promote the culture of peace through the “The Reading Forum” that are held in public places where people are given electronic access to their favorite readings.
In addition to advocating Reading for Peace, IPI MENA is building on the UAE initiative aiming at an integrated national literacy strategy and a framework to produce a “reading generation.”
The presentation commenced after members of the audience consisting of members of Government officials, diplomats, academia, faith leaders, the corporate community and Members of the IPI MENA Advisory Council observed a moment of silence at the initiative of IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji in memory of victims of terrorism and in particular the horrific assassination of Father Jacques Hamel by terrorists in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in France. Hamel and his church had donated a piece of land to the Muslim community to build a mosque in 2000, Friji noted.
Mr. Al Marri called on Arabs and Muslims to put further effort to strengthen peace around the world and emphasized the importance of reaching the younger generation by adhering to their right to education. MRAWP Peace Library containing over 50 million books aims at providing access to the public by the means of electronic devices.
Reverend Hani Aziz of the National Evangelical Church decried on behalf of the IPI MENA Interfaith Dialogue the “alarming misuse of social media by extremist groups thereby drawing more youth into their infernal fold.” He stressed the necessity for a reading that teaches mutual respect and tolerates diversity.
The younger generation had their voices heard when Adam Jade Kadia, possibly the youngest writer devoted to peace, addressed the audience from France via Skype.
Mr. Jade Kadia called on all children, their parents, and tutors all over the world to read good books that will help them understand other civilizations, other cultures and have access to knowledge in order to build a world based on peace, mutual understanding, dialogue and friendship.
The young writer called on Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for World Peace and others to recognize many children like him around the world, who have the writing skills and talents in order to encourage them to write in adequate conditions and with the noble objective of serving world peace.
Mr. Jade Kadia expressed hope that “Forums For Peace” arriving in Manama would allow people to read, write and work together to make this world a better place. He called on children of the world to read good books that promote mutual understanding and tolerance to fight ignorance around the world. He also urged the adults to encourage talented young writers by providing them with an environment that fosters their skill. Adam was awarded a tablet computer by MRAWP as a token of appreciation for this contribution towards peace, and for his easy writing in the future. His mother Meriem Kadia accepted the award on his behalf.
IPI MENA Director Nejib Friji called for a greater level of co-operation between the Arab countries on peace based educational programs.
The participants also stressed the need to improve educational curricula and the quality of education to create a peace-minded generation. They reiterated their commitment to the promotion of the culture of peace.
Noting that the advocacy for reading for peace does not end with this conference, Al Merri announced that at the joint MRAWP and IPI, MENA initiative and the cooperation of UAE Majid Al Futtaim Group, a Peace Readers Forum Festival is going to be launched in Bahrain’s largest City Centre Mall from 28 July to 1 August to promote reading for peace to the public, in the first of its kind event outside the UAE.
The event was co-hosted with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for World Peace.
“Peace Readers Forum Fest to be launched today,” DT News (July 28, 2016)
“Curriculum revamp proposed to Foster Peace in Education,” Gulf Daily News (July 28, 2016)
“IPI MENA, MRAWP co-host ‘Peace Readers Forum,'” Bahrain News Agency (July 27, 2016)