18 December - World Arabic Language Day
During its 190th session the UNESCO Executive Board adopted a decision to celebrate 18 December of every year as World Arabic Language Day. The new initiative, proposed by Morocco and Saudi Arabia, seeks to promote multilingualism and cultural diversity, as well as celebrate Arabic language’s role in and contribution to the safeguarding and dissemination of human civilization and culture. The decision recognizes the need to implement more wide-ranging cooperation between peoples through multilingualism, cultural rapprochement and dialogue among civilizations.
Language is not merely a tool for communication, but rather the bearer of a whole range of cultural expressions and a bridge enabling close relations between societies. The Day creates an occasion to raise awareness about the cultural and social treasure of the Arabic language and gives an opportunity to discover more about the language and its contribution to human civilization.
Arabic is the language of 22 of the Member States of UNESCO and is one of the Organization’s official languages. It is one of the most widespread languages spoken by more than 422 million people, most of whom live in the Middle East and North Africa.
Arabic became a UN official working language on 18 December 1973 by virtue of a United Nations General Assembly resolution. In an effort to support and strengthen linguistic and cultural diversity within the UN system, on 19 February 2010 the United Nations Department of Public Information announced the decision to celebrate an international day for each of the six official languages of the UN: French (March 20), English (April 23), Russian (June 6), Spanish (October 12), Chinese (November 13) and Arabic (December 18). Arabic Language Day is celebrated on 18 December, the date on which the UN General Assembly designated Arabic as the sixth official language of the United Nations.