The 2015 iRead cultural enrichment camp in al-Khobar began this month, with 40 students from middle school up to university level participating. The program promotes knowledge, culture and creativity among participants through workshops, lectures and intensive training courses. Emphasis is placed on developing participants’ writing and public speaking skills, and they are given access to books and references to inspire them. Each student is given the funding and support to develop a creative presentation on an idea of their choice, and 10 finalists will be selected to advance to the live performance phase. The winner of the live performances at each educational level will be announced as Reader of the Year for their level at a closing ceremony in Dhahran in September. Selection Process In all, 6,060 participants have applied for the third year of iRead. Each applicant submitted a summary on the competition website about a book that moved them. Interviews were conducted with 100 students from middle school, high school and university, and 40 were nominated to join the camp. This year’s competition involves non-Saudi participants for the first time, after a 2013 pilot that included men and women from the Eastern Province that was opened up to the entire Kingdom in 2014. A Photography Competition The competition will also celebrate photographers through a passionate-reading photography contest. Three winners will be chosen from among professional photographers, both men and women, to display their passion about the world of books and reading. iRead and the Center The three-week iRead program is one of the flagship programs of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture. The Center is working to inspire 2 million Saudi youth by the year 2020 through a variety of practical, enriching and innovative programs and activities.