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UAE initiatives ‘Beacon of Hope UAE’ and ‘Wanna Read?’ Share Message of Literacy, Tolerance and Hope in the United States.

September 27, 2017

WASHINGTON, September 26, 2017 –  The UAE-based organization Circle of Hope – which was founded by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and is responsible for the ‘Wanna Read?’ and Beacon of Hope UAE initiatives – brought its message about education, literacy, friendship and tolerance to youth in New York and Washington, DC, in coordination with the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.

“I am pleased to have this opportunity to extend both initiatives to youth in the United States, in an effort to promote messages of healing by reading in hospitals through ‘Wanna Read?’ and uniting youth through education, empowerment and friendship with Beacon of Hope UAE,” stated Sheikha Shamma. 

Circle of Hope UAE Director Larisa Miller and Adel Mohammed Yousif, a member of the Board of Trustees, traveled to New York and Washington, DC to introduce these initiatives to local schools and hospitals.

At the Bronx Design and Construction Academy in New York City, winners of the 2014 Zayed Future Energy Prize worked with His Excellency Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, to assemble Beacon of Hope UAE solar light kits, which will be delivered to children in refugee camps around the world. 

In Washington, DC, the team visited Children’s National Medical Center, the first hospital in the United States to incorporate ‘Wanna Read?’ as part of its pediatric health and wellness programs. 

“The longstanding close partnership between the UAE and Children’s National is a great example of positive international collaborations to give back and lend a helping hand to our friends and neighbors around the world,” said Larisa Miller.  “We were honored to have the opportunity to support the mission of ‘Wanna Read?’ and encourage healing through the simple act of reading.” 

Additionally, Adel Mohammed Yousif signed an MOU with Children’s National and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation that enables Beacon of Hope UAE to assist in collecting data from newborns in Africa and the Middle East, and help  with furthering pediatric research to develop innovative treatments for children. 

“By working with the Sheikh Zayed Institute, we can collect data from infants in largely inaccessible regions of the world, allowing the Institute to fine-tune the accuracy of their mobile medical applications that identify genetic birth syndromes in infants which would have previously been undetected and reveal life-threatening heart murmurs in babies,” noted Larisa Miller. 

While in Washington, DC, the delegation participated in  a Beacon of Hope UAE solar light assembly with fifth grade students  at Maret School and discussed formalizing an arrangement for Maret School to be a sister school-of-excellence with Al Shohub School in Abu Dhabi.

Tolerance, education, youth empowerment, sustainability and prosperity – regardless of race, religion or geographical location – were the key messages shared during their visit to the US.

Remarks from Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba

“Outreach initiatives like Circle of Hope’s ‘Wanna Read?’ and Beacon of Hope UAE highlight our shared values and common interests, while building bridges of cultural understanding between the UAE and United States,” said UAE Ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba. “I commend Sheikha Shamma and her team for these positive steps and helping to further strengthen our friendship with the US.”

Circle of Hope UAE plans to conduct more events in the United States in the coming months, further uniting the youth of the UAE and the US in support of children in need globally.