Living Books program gains momentum in UAE

Inspiring Emiratis Share Their Path to Success During Annual Storytelling Event at Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Science where books are people and reading is a conversation.

Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) hosted its annual ‘Living Books’ event at the Al Maktoum Medical Library last week. First held at the Al Maktoum Medical Library in 2019, Living Books® is a storytelling program where inspiring individuals share their lived experiences with their readers. Here, books are people, and reading is a conversation.

The Al Maktoum Medical Library, conceptualized Living Books® to foster open and honest conversations leading to greater understanding, acceptance, and social cohesion in the community. During 25-minute sessions, event participants could “borrow” a Living Book to ask questions and learn from the experiences that have shaped their lives and formed their identities.

Held under the theme “UAE Inspires,” four inspiring Emiratis were invited to tell their stories of leadership, overcoming adversity, the good times, and the challenges. This year’s event featured Dubai Police’s criminologist Lina Al Amiri the first criminal profiler and child forensic interviewer in the Middle East region; Dr. Suaad Al Shamsi, the UAE’s first female Aircraft Engineer; Saleh AlAmeri, the UAE’s first Analog Crew Member; and Shaikha AlFalasi, the Science Lead of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre’s UAE Analog Programme.

Lina Al Amiri is an expert in the Criminology Department at the General Department of Forensic Science and Criminology at Dubai Police. During her session, Lina recalls how one teacher sparked her love of biology and effectively sent her on the path to become who she is today. “In grade 11, I was introduced to genetics. Believe it or not, I wasn’t interested in biology or science – I wouldn’t say I liked it. The approach of one teacher makes a difference. That biology teacher made me love it.” Recently, Lina was certified as the Middle East’s first criminal profiler and child forensic interviewer.

Dr. Suaad Al Shamsi is the first female aircraft engineer in the UAE and landing gear specialist. Suaad shared how she overcame adversity when deciding to pursue a career in engineering and entering a male-dominated field. “I didn’t know I would be the first female aircraft engineer. It’s not about the title. I wanted to change people’s image and mentality when they say, ‘You can’ or ‘You cannot.”

Two more Living Books from the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) shared their involvement with the UAE’s Analog Mission. Shaikha Al Falasi, the Science Lead of the mission, discussed the elaborate and precious process of selecting Saleh Al Ameri, the UAE’s first crew member of an Analog Mission. Al Ameri completed eight months of an isolation mission, conducted 70 experiments, and studied how long-term isolation and confinement effects human psychology and physiology.

 “Our Living Books represent a quick, accessible, and highly effective way to share knowledge and insights,” said Tamara Muir, Senior Director of Administrative Affairs at MBRU. “By inviting four highly respected Emiratis who are pioneers in their specific sectors, MBRU was able to provide participants access to people with spectacular experiences who could share their stories, inspire others, generate empathy, and generally demonstrate the advantages of everything from teamwork to respect to integrity.

“Listening to these high-achieving local figures was not only truly inspirational but also highly enlightening. Seeing the reactions of our attendees, I am confident that everyone – our participants and our Living Books – enjoyed the experience.”

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