Dubai: A total of 14 high school students were recognised with awards during the 17th edition of the Arab Media Forum on Wednesday after being chosen winners of two media competitions organised by the American University in Dubai (AUD).
Among the winners, two students who participated in the Investigative Journalism Competition and presented outstanding pieces walked away with four-year scholarships at the Mohammad Bin Rashid School for Communication (MBRSC) of AUD.
Launched earlier this year by the university in partnership with Dubai Press Club, the second cycle of the ‘Investigative Journalism Competition’ and ‘AUD Short Film Competition’ opened the doors for thousands of high school students to participate in two categories of the award, Arabic and English.
From a total of 72 entries in both competitions, 35 students from different schools in the UAE were shortlisted and finally 14 were awarded.
Organisers said this year was exceptional in terms of the number of Emirati female students participating in the competition and the variety of interesting topics explored by the majority of the students.
They also encouraged Emiratis to consider pursuing journalism, which they described as a noble profession.
“The university has also granted all 11 Emirati students who won in both competitions full scholarships to study journalism at the university. Any Emirati wanting to pursue their studies at the MBRSC can apply for a scholarship,” said Nader Makenzi, media counsellor at AUD, and one of the competition’s organisers.
It was 17-year-old Syrian Maya Dermosh who came in first place in the Arabic journalism category for tackling the topic of obsession with fame of bloggers and social media influencers.
Speaking to Gulf News, Dermosh said: “In my piece, I spoke about how bloggers and the so-called fashionistas were obsessed over becoming popular even though they don’t have any qualified skills to offer. I included many sources in my piece including a psychologist who discussed the desire of many young women to seek fame even if it was negative but they would want to do it for the monetary returns.”
The grade 12 student who attends Shurooq Private School in Dubai said she has always wanted to pursue her studies in media and has always had a passion for print journalism.
Meanwhile, the judging committee decided to grant another participant in the Arabic journalism category the scholarship because of the quality piece she submitted. Taima Osama Al Ali, 18, also from Syria, was chosen the winner for her article that focused on the importance of creativity.
The Investigative Journalism competition’s criteria required students to pick a topic or issue that is either local, cultural, social or national, said Makenzi. Each contestant provided alongside the article a folder including pictures documenting the investigative research process that led to the investigative piece.
The other winners, four of whom won in the Best Short Film, were also awarded with complimentary gifts from the competition’s organising partners.
Gulf News was also honoured during the ceremony for sponsoring the competitions.