Contribution to the improvement of the presence of the Arabic language in UNESCO

© UNESCO/Andrew Wheeler

UNESCO recognizes that languages play a key role in diffusing knowledge and ideas among people and cultures.

The Arabic language, which has played a central role through history, is one of the six official languages of UNESCO. UNESCO is endeavouring to increase its visibility in the Arab world and, since September 2005 and the launch of the Arabic version of UNESCO’s portal, about 5% of the information available on the English version of the portal has been made available in Arabic.

Activities and support for the promotion of the Arabic language and culture within UNESCO and within the international community expanded in 2007 with the launch of the project entitled, “Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s contribution to the improvement of the presence of the Arabic language in UNESCO”, funded by Saudi Arabia with US$3 million. In 2010 the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya contributed US$1 million for the same purpose. Activities to be financed by these contributions will run until 2013.

© UNESCO/Andrew Wheeler

The objectives of the projects are to further develop the Arabic version of the UNESCO portal, to bring the Arabic version of UNESCOTERM, UNESCO’s terminological database, into line with other language versions, to strengthen relations with the media in Arabic-speaking countries, to strengthen translation, revision, layout, printing and distribution of publications in Arabic, to develop expertise in translation, particularly in the Arab region, and to finance Arabic interpretation services for meetings and conferences organized by UNESCO, enabling Arabic speakers to express themselves in their principal language and to listen in Arabic to contributions in other languages.

With these initiatives UNESCO aims to spread the use of the Arabic language in UNESCO’s activities to a much wider audience.

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