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Arabic 'Sesame Street' Returns After 25 Years

A new production of "Iftah Ya Simsim," the Arabic version of "Sesame Street," will return to the airwaves on national TV channels across the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Middle East and North Africa following a 25-year break.

Targeting children ages 4-6, the new "Iftah Ya Simsim" is produced by Bidaya Media, a joint venture between Sesame Workshop and Mubadala Development, the Abu Dhabi-based investment and development company.

With four years of research and planning leading up to the first season, "Iftah Ya Simsim" is designed to reinforce children’s spoken and written Arabic language skills, provide content that is reflective of children’s daily life experiences and enhance school readiness. The show will also be a focus on healthy lifestyles and modeling positive social behavior and skills. The series will premieres this Friday and Saturday across nine broadcast stations, with 28 new episodes featuring original songs, live-action films and animated segments. 

“Sesame Workshop is committed to creating partnerships with public and private institutions that have a passion for children and understand the importance of education,” says Steve Youngwood, chief operating officer, Sesame Workshop. “'Iftah Ya Simsim' was one of the early versions of 'Sesame Street' to help pave the way for our extraordinary global reach. When 'Sesame Street' debuted in 1969, our goal was to better prepare children for school in the U.S. The founders never dreamed that the television show they created would reach children in 150 countries, some with their very own locally produced 'Sesame Street.' Through the tireless work of our wonderful partners on the ground, we are producing and delivering content that promotes the heritage, language and culture of the region."

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