IFHC Announces Three Winners of Short Story Competition for UAE University Students at ADIHEX

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  • Hanya Ghonim, Reem Alyazidi and Dana Alyazidi awarded top honours in ceremony on IFHC’s exhibitor stand at ADIHEX
  • Virtual workshop with Emirati author Eissa Al Awadi held in July saw university students tutored on creative writing in collaboration with IFHC
  • Students submitted 1,200-word stories charting the historic flight and modern plight of the vulnerable bird species
  • Literary heritage competition forged emotional connection between youth emblematic houbara bustard

Abu Dhabi-UAE: The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC), the global leader in pre-emptive species conservation, today announced the winners of its short story competition for UAE university students at the Abu Dhabi Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX).

The best narratives crafted about the flight and plight of the emblematic houbara bustard in the UAE came from Hanya Fathy Ghonim, Reem Mohammed Alyazidi, and Dana Alyazidi.

The students and their winning submissions were publicly announced at an official awards ceremony hosted by IFHC’s Director General, His Excellency Mohammed Saleh Al Baidani at the Fund’s stunning exhibitor stand at ADIHEX, which features a live pen of houbara bringing visitors up close and personal with the vulnerable bird.

Following a two-day virtual education workshop on creative writing and houbara conservation held in July earlier this year, university students from the UAE were invited to submit 1,200-word stories to the IFHC to capture the challenges facing the bird species which has become emblematic of the Arab world.

During the two days of the workshop, participating students were taught the art of compelling storytelling by Emirati author Eissa Al Awadi, and separately about the cultural significance of the houbara bustard and the UAE’s biodiversity by Hamda Al Ameri, Senior Specialist of Awareness at the Fund’s Education and Outreach Department.

The combination of creativity and knowledge offered by the initiative, provided students with the tools and understanding to create emotive and imaginative short stories, with the bustard often playing the role of protagonist in an increasingly challenging natural environment.

At the awards ceremony, His Excellency Mohammed Saleh Al Baidani, Director General at the IFHC said: “The creativity and knowledge that leapt off the pages of the stories from this competition were truly inspiring. It is both encouraging and rewarding to see the next generation so passionately engaged with our conservation efforts in the UAE.

“We are whole-heartedly committed to educating our youth and engaging them on the big issues of our time beyond the classroom. This writing workshop has done that by raising awareness of the importance of species preservation in the UAE and fostering an active student community fully cognisant of our nation’s rich cultural heritage.”

The competition is the latest education-focused initiative launched by the IFHC, which marks 15 years since its formation and 40 years of pioneering conservation research and action. It attracted aspiring university student writers from across the country who, through their work, expressed their passion about conserving and regenerating the vulnerable houbara population in the wild.

The Writing Workshop is part of IFHC’s ongoing efforts to inspire future generations to continue spreading the importance of protecting the environment and creating a sustainable future for Houbaras in the wild through effective and appropriate conservation programmes.

This year’s ADIHEX edition is held under the theme ‘Sustainability and Heritage… a Reborn Aspiration’ and is considered the first and most prominent heritage event in the Arab region. The event is held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Emirates Falconers’ Club.

About IFHC:

Established in 2006, IFHC was created to manage breeding and release programs across three countries including the UAE, Morocco and Kazakhstan. The organization was initiated by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, under a clear mission: to reverse the declining Houbara population by creating the Abu Dhabi Houbara programme in the 1970s.

IFHC is backed by more than 40 years of knowledge, expertise, and success with a goal to maintain viable wild populations and secure a sustainable future for the houbara.