Posted on May 29, 2019

Qatar Foundation (QF), in partnership with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, has today unveiled ‘Qatar Reads’ – an initiative designed to build on the success of its National Reading Campaign, and create a culture of reading that places storytelling and discovery at the heart of the nation.

Innovative, inclusive, and connecting with different audiences in tailored and interactive ways, Qatar Reads aims to encourage and inspire Qatar’s community to recognize how reading opens up pathways of knowledge and opportunities for social engagement, shapes future leaders – and takes those who pick up a book on a journey driven by imagination and exploration.

Reflecting QF’s commitment to nurturing lifelong learners, creative and critical thinkers, and knowledge-seekers, the goal of Qatar Reads is to foster a nation of readers by emphasizing the enduring relevance of the written word, and opening eyes and minds to the possibilities for discovery and enjoyment that it presents. With the Ministry of Culture and Sports as its strategic partner, the movement will promote values, mindsets, and reading habits that help people to widen their perspectives and horizons. The momentum created by the National Reading Campaign – which primarily focused on engaging those aged 18 and under – will be capitalized on by Qatar Reads as it reaches out to people with differing needs, lifestyles, and characteristics, from young children and their families to teenagers, university students, and teachers. Specialized programs, initiatives, and channels will be used to inspire a collective, Qatar-wide love of reading.

“Reading is an integral element of nurturing a society of leaders – equipped with knowledge, broad and open mindsets, and positive values, and empowered to make learning a constant part of their lives,” said Mrs. Machaille Al-Naimi, President of Community Development, QF. “It prompts a desire for exploration and discovery, qualities that are valuable in life and vital for the future of Qatar and the generation who will shape that future. Reading is also a catalyst for imagination, taking people – especially young people – on a journey to new destinations in their lives and their minds.

“Qatar Reads is the natural, innovative next step for the movement initially represented by QF’s National Reading Campaign. It will drive engagement with reading in new ways, and have a new audience scope, but its overarching purpose will be the same – to raise awareness of the value of reading, not only for intellectual stimulation, but for discovery and enjoyment. In taking this next step, QF is delighted to be partnering with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, whose support for Qatar Reads reflects the importance of making reading a culture, rather than simply an activity.”

His Excellency Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports, commended the Qatar Reads initiative. “Reading is rooted in Arab-Islamic civilization as our religion places much importance on seeking knowledge. With knowledge, mankind has been elevated from the rest of the creatures on Earth. The sacredness of knowledge is deeply rooted in our religion, as the first word in the Holy Qur'an is “Recite”,” he said. “Reading should not be limited to achieving personal, short-lived goals. Rather, the knowledge gained through reading should be for the betterment of society. These perspectives are reflected in the mission of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, which aims to educate society, and equip them with knowledge.

“The Ministry of Culture and Sports values this partnership, and will harness its full potential to further the success of the initiative. Reading is an important source of knowledge, and it plays a central role in shaping the minds of individuals within society.” Qatar Reads will go further than being an events-based outreach program, bringing its message to Qatar’s community through innovative concepts that illustrate the vibrancy of reading. The first of these is the Family Reading Program, which aims to make reading a fun and exciting habit for children and promote it as a family activity, where parents reading with their sons and daughters becomes part of everyday home life.

Tapping into children’s natural curiosity and encouraging them to bring books home, Qatar Reads will select two books every month – all with activity sheets and other materials – for each of seven different age groups, from kindergarten to Grade 6. By creating a scenario where children across Qatar are reading books with the same theme, the program – a collaboration with leading children’s book publisher Scholastic – aims to create a shared reading network, where young readers can discuss the stories they have explored, exchange ideas, and learn in groups.

For more information about Qatar Reads, and its upcoming programs and activities, please visit qatarreads.qa

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