Emirates NBD becomes Official Banking Partner of Emirates Literature Foundation at a signing ceremony coinciding with the launch of the 2020 Emirates NBD Poetry for All competition

Dubai, 29 September 2019: The Board of Trustees of the Emirates Literature Foundation was delighted to attend the signing ceremony for an agreement signalling a new chapter of the Foundation’s partnership with Emirates NBD. The long-standing partnership enters a new phase with the signing of a multi-year agreement making Emirates NBD the Official Banking Partner. The bank has been the sponsor of the highly regarded poetry performance competition, Emirates NBD Poetry For All for several years. The agreement signed this week signals the bank’s commitment to investing in homegrown creative talent and nurturing the culture of sharing stories as well as ensuring accessibility to cultural opportunities for people of determination.

As Official Banking Partner, Emirates NBD becomes the Festival’s exclusive banking provider. The bank commits to supporting the Foundation in the delivery of its mission of changing lives through spreading the love of books and stories.

HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said: “All of us on the board are proud to have witnessed the yearly growth of the Festival, and the positive impact that the Foundation and the Festival are having on everyone in our community, across all ages and  nationalities.”

Isobel Abulhoul OBE, CEO and founder of Emirates Literature Foundation, said: “We are deeply grateful to our friends at Emirates NBD for their continuous support. They have partnered with us for many years for our wonderful poetry performance competition, and it was felt on both sides that we could do more together to invest in our community. It is wonderful to see two homegrown organisations joining forces to make our world a little bit better. We look forward to taking this partnership to the next level and together provide a legacy for children to grow up with a love of the written and spoken word.”

Commenting on the partnership, Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Emirates NBD, said: “Emirates NBD is proud to support the Emirates Literature Foundation as Official Banking Partner, marking a new chapter in our longstanding relationship with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. The bank has been an active supporter of the festival over the years, sponsoring the Emirates NBD Poetry for All competition that has provided a valuable and rewarding platform for aspiring young poets across the GCC. We remain committed to supporting the foundation in its goals of developing an appreciation for literature among the region’s youth.”

The Emirates NBD Poetry For All competition offers students with a talent for poetry performance a chance to shine, performing favourite poems. It is open to full-time students in the GCC (UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) and it is held in Arabic and English. The final of the competition will be held at the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, 4-9 February 2020.

The Emirates NBD Poetry For All competition last year saw more than 400 performers compete across the two age group categories of the competition, 8-13 and 14-18.

Performers compete in several preliminary rounds, with the grand finals held during the Festival. Registration for the competition is open online till 6th October 2019 at emirateslitfest.com/competitions/young-peoples-competitions/poetry-for-all-competition

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online and year-round news of #EmiratesLitFest on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


For more information, please contact:

Elise Butler Tel: +971 55 980 6697 [email protected] Rahaf Awad Tel: +971 55 591 0723 [email protected]

Notes to editors:

1. About the Emirates Literature Foundation

The Emirates Literature Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which supports and nurtures a love of literature in the United Arab Emirates and the region, through a programme of varied cultural initiatives. Established in 2013 by Royal Decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Foundation aims to foster a love for literature, with a focus on the Arabic language. In line with the National Reading Policy of the UAE, the Foundation has implemented several long-term projects including the School Librarian of the Year Award and the annual Arabic Language Week, as well as conducting year-round student education programmes, book clubs and creative writing courses. The Foundation’s previous initiatives included the 2016 Dubai Translation Conference and the 2017 Dubai International Publishing Conference, which hosted a number of international participants. The Foundation is also the governing body of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the UAE’s premier literary festival, which will be return in 2020.

Emirates Literature Foundation

Dar Al Adaab

Al Shindagha Historical Neighbourhood

PO Box 24506

Dubai, UAE


2. About the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is the Arab World’s largest celebration of the written and spoken word, featuring international and regional writers, poets, thinkers and speakers from around the world. In 2019 the Festival reached  more than  45,000 people through the Festival’s main programme of events  which featured Ahmed AlShugairi, Chris Gardner, Darcey Bussell, Jane Hawking, Saud Alsanousi, Douglas Coupland, Ian Rankin, Jeff Kinney, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, among many others. The 2018 Festival starred David Walliams, Jacqueline Wilson, His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash, Anthony Horowitz and Shashi Tharoor.

The aim of the Festival is to develop a culture of reading as an enjoyable habit in the UAE, and its efforts have been recognised through many awards over the years. By providing an equal platform for international and locally-based talents, the Festival continues to build the literary landscape in the UAE and further afield.

Alongside the main programme, the Festival organises an Education programme, which positively impacted on more than 30,000 students across the UAE in 2019. The programme includes education days, student sessions and author school visits where young people meet and interact with their favourite authors, plus student competitions, held in Arabic and English, which allow young people to showcase their skills through poetry, short stories and reading.

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Festival is a key part of the Emirates Literature Foundation, which was established in 2013 by Royal Decree. In partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture, the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will be back for 2020.

For information and updates about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature visit the website: www.emirateslitfest.com

3. About Emirates NBD

About Emirates NBD

Emirates NBD is a leading banking Group in the region. As at 30th June 2019, total assets were AED 537.8 Billion, (equivalent to approx. USD 146 Billion). The Group has a significant retail banking franchise in the UAE and is a key participant in the global digital banking industry, with over 90 per cent of all financial transactions and requests conducted outside of its branches. The bank was declared the Most Innovative Financial Services Organization of the Year at the 2017 BAI Global Innovation Awards.

The bank currently has 233 branches and 1081 ATMs and SDMs in the UAE and overseas and a large social media following, being the only bank in the Middle East ranked among the top 20 in the ‘Power 100 Social Media Rankings’, compiled by The Financial Brand. It is a major player in the UAE corporate and retail banking arena and has strong Islamic Banking, Global Markets & Treasury, Investment Banking, Private Banking, Asset Management and Brokerage operations.

The Group has operations in the UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India, Singapore, the United Kingdom and representative offices in China, Indonesia and Turkey.

On 31st July 2019, Emirates NBD acquired Denizbank, a leading bank in Turkey with total assets of AED 134 Billion as at 30th June 2019 (equivalent to approx. USD ~36 Billion), operating through a network of 749 branches, with presence in Turkey, Austria, Germany, Bahrain and Moscow.

Emirates NBD Group is an active participant and supporter of the UAE’s main development and community initiatives, in close alignment with the UAE government’s strategies, including financial literacy and advocacy for inclusion of People with Disabilities under its #TogetherLimitless platform. Emirates NBD Group is a Premier Partner and the Official Banking Partner for Expo 2020 Dubai. For more information, please visit: www.emiratesnbd.com