Middle Eastern super-heroes

The scarcity of positive and relevant role models for children in the Islamic world is startling. THE 99 Project decided to do something to change perceptions of Islam. It was founded by Naif Al Mutawa who has extensive clinical experience working with former prisoners of war in Kuwait as well as at the Survivors of Political Torture unit of Bellevue Hospital in New York. In his work he has seen first hand the cancer that intolerance can bring to any society. THE 99 Project tapped into the same sources from which others took violent, hateful messages, and created story lines that promote diversity, multiculturalism and personal responsibility.

Drawing upon global history, culture and traditions, their 99 superheroes come from 99 countries and work together to improve the world. Their aim is to provide positive role models for children that are inspired on a global level. President Obama made a special mention of THE 99 in one of his speeches. So far 26-episodes of the animated TV series have been completed, with another 26 in production. Broadcasting rights have been sold in 49 countries across four continents. While the direct impact of THE 99 cannot be easily measured, its ambition is clearly a cultural shift.

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Naif al Mutawa