» Director-General Celebrates World Arabic Language Day
15.12.2016 - ODG

Director-General Celebrates World Arabic Language Day

©UNESCO/Christelle ALIX

On 15 December, Director-General Irina Bokova marked the 5th edition of the World Arabic Language Day at UNESCO by highlighting the power of a language that is “a force for exchange and dialogue, for creating and sharing knowledge, for renewing our commitment to shared values and strengthening the ties of one humanity.”

“This is a Day to shine light on linguistic diversity as a beating heart of humanity’s cultural diversity, to celebrate the power of a language that brings together over 400 million speakers on five continents – and nearly one billion Muslim faithful,” she said. “More efforts must be made in schools and universities to promote the Arabic language and facilitate its learning for the development of research, scientific innovation and creativity. To succeed, we can take inspiration from the immense contribution of writers, scientists and artists of Arabic language to universal culture.”

Tracing the history of Arabic language day, Mr Ziad Aldrees, Ambassador and Permanent delegate of Saudi Arabia to UNESCO, called for further protection of the Arabic language and paid tribute to the efforts of non-Arabic scholars and intellectuals to contribute to its vitality. “It is only by using a language that was shall ensure that it is not weakened but protected,” said the Ambassador.

 During the event, Ms Bokova signed a USD 5 million agreement with the Director-General of the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation, Mr Salih Alkholaifi, to strengthen the Arab language within UNESCO, marking the second phase of a programme initiated by the Government of Saudi Arabia.


The Director-General toured an exhibition on “The Exquisite Art of Arabic Calligraphy” organized to mark World Arabic Language Day. Through panels, architectural elements and artefacts, the exhibition presents the history of Arabic scripts and their journey over time, from the Middle East, to Andalusia, to the Ottoman period, to present day aesthetics.  “UNESCO is proud to be part of a journey to protect and promote this beautiful language, its music, poetry and contribution to humanity.”

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