Seventeen-year-old Afaf Raed Sharif, from Ramallah, beat 16 finalists from across the Arab world to land the top prize in the second annual Arab Reading Challenge.
Participants had to read at least 50 books to qualify.
“This is a victory over all the challenges that we face. We refuse to be any less than any other people in the world,” Sharif told AFP.
“It’s a message to all students: don’t you ever give up. Don’t you ever break. When you set a goal, you can reach it. It won’t be easy … but you have to make persistence and patience your allies.”
The all-girl Al-Iman school, in Bahrain, won a $1 million prize for the best reading initiatives for students.
The principal of the winning school takes home $100,000 of the prize money, with the school’s reading supervisor taking another $100,000 and the remaining $800,000 going to school funds.