December 18 is World Arabic Language Day and this year’s theme is “Arabic Language, a bridge between civilisations.” Celebrated since 2012, World Arabic Language Day marks the anniversary of the United Nation’s 1973 adoption of Arabic as one of its official languages.
In a message to the public, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said, “Throughout the centuries, Arabic has been at the heart of exchanges between continents and across cultures. (…) On this World Arabic Language Day, UNESCO encourages everyone to look to the common roots of civilizations and strive for a more united world.”
In the diversity of its forms, classic or dialectal, from oral expression to poetic calligraphy, the Arabic language has given rise to a fascinating aesthetic, in fields as varied as architecture, poetry, philosophy and song. It gives access to an incredible variety of identities and beliefs and its history reveals the richness of its links with other languages. Arabic has played a catalytic role in knowledge, promoting the dissemination of Greek and Roman sciences and philosophies to Renaissance Europe. It has enabled a dialogue of cultures along the silk roads, from the coast of India to the Horn of Africa.
In celebration of the Arabic language and its many contributions to civilization, UNESCO has organized an art exhibition on the fences surrounding their Paris headquarters. They also hosted a virtual panel discussion on December 17, which was moderated by author, professor, and founder of the European Observatory for the Teaching of the Arabic Language Mr. Bashir Al-Obaidi.
Here are some ways YOU can celebrate!…
– Listen to Arabic-language music
– Sample traditional Middle Eastern cuisine
– Visit a Middle Eastern art exhibition
– Watch an Arabic-language film