UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has declared 2016 as the Year of Reading in the UAE. With a pressing need to encourage literacy among Emirati generations, the theme is part of the nation's efforts to curb a crisis.
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, spoke about the plans over Twitter: "We have a literacy crisis in the Arab World and changing course to knowledge-based development means getting our youth reading."
This crisis was backed up by a 2012 report from the Arab Thought Foundation's Report for Cultural Development, which stated then that the average reading time for an Arab child is just six minutes per year compared with 12,000 minutes in Western countries.
Sheikh Mohammed also hinted at a need for future generations to be passionate about reading to encourage knowledge and curiosity if scientists, researchers and innovators for future generations are to be produced. As of 2016 a national framework that promotes reading will be set up to transform current and future generations into lifetime readers.