Around 2,000 runners took part in the National Reading Programme s marathon held on the sidelines of the 53rd Cairo International Book Fair.
The marathon took place over a distance of four kilometres at the Arab International Scout Centre in Cairo and lasted for about two hours.
Similar races also took place the same day in three other Egyptian governorates, including at the Avenue of Sphinxes in Luxor, the Sporting Station in Alexandria and Osmathon Sporting Club in Ismailia.
Providing official support to the event, Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy commended the marathon, saying: “The National Reading Programme’s marathon conforms with the ministry’s objectives as well as its ambitious plan that promotes youth sports and intellectual skills. This helps generate knowledge that empowers Egypt to achieve cultural entrepreneurship locally and internationally.”
He went on, saying that both the marathon and the book fair work simultaneously to build a sound mind in a healthy body.
Meanwhile, Hisham El-Sangary, head of educational projects in Egypt and North Africa at the NRP, hailed the cooperation with the ministry, saying: “Developing skills of the youth as well as instilling the love of reading comes on top of the National Reading Programme’s priorities. Holding the marathon is one of the ways to encourage youth to attend the Cairo International Book Fair, in order to widen their creative and cultural scopes and reinforce their knowledge in various fields. This will help provide a society that learns, thinks, creates and produces in a way that conforms with Egypt’s 2030 Vision.”
Moreover, El-Sangary indicated the importance of highlighting such ambitious efforts, which will result in a renaissance of reading by putting it at the top of peoples’ priorities. “This will contribute to creating a generation that is proud of its affiliation, and hence achieve sustainable knowledge,” he explained.
This year’s marathon is the first to be organised by the NRP, though it plans to hold it annually in the future.
The NRP aims to encourage Egyptian youth to embrace critical, creative and functional reading skills, especially in the Arabic language, enabling them to acquire and apply new knowledge while fostering a community that learns, thinks and innovates.
The NRP is organised in collaboration with the ministries of education, higher education and culture, Al-Azhar and the Egyptian Knowledge Bank.
The program is planned to continue for 10 years, with a yearly budget of EGP 50 million (about $3.2 million).
The NRP is also affiliated with the Emirates’ Research Science Institute, which is a cultural educational institution that invests in developing generations through innovative evidence-based programmes.
Since its inception in 1998, the institute has prioritised encouraging reading supported by decades of hands-on experience. Building on its expertise in the management of such projects, institute strives to enrich national reading programmes and educational projects.