Rabat – UNESCO observes on December 18 of every year World Arabic Language Day, honoring a language that more than 290 million people speak daily around the world.
UNESCO established the international day in 2010 and has celebrated it since 2012. December 18 coincides with the United Nations General Assembly’s decision in 1973 to adopt Arabic as the organization’s sixth official language.
The UN adopted Arabic on the basis of a proposal Morocco and Saudi Arabia submitted the same year.
World Arabic Language Day commemorates the role Arabic played in promoting the dissemination of the sciences and philosophies of ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans, and in giving birth to the European Renaissance.
One of the world’s most widely spoken languages, Arabic also created a bridge of dialogue through the silk road between India and the Horn of Africa.
UNESCO is set to celebrate the Arabic language this year under the theme “Arabic Language Academies: Necessity of Luxury?”
Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay will deliver a message on the international day describing Arabic as a “bridge between cultures and across borders.” UNESCO will explore the role of the Arabic language academies in conveying accurate information in the context of global events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNESCO expressed its concern of the gradual decline of the use of Arabic in the academic field against global languages such as French and English.
The use of Classical Arabic has also declined against Dialectal Arabic throughout the Arab world, prompting UNESCO to call on academies to preserve the language.
In order to address the issue and celebrate World Arabic Language Day, UNESCO will organize a webinar meeting with academics and professionals in Arabic language to discuss the role of academic figures in preserving the language.
Arabic is a strongly pronounced language, which manifests in particular in the 15th letter of its alphabet (Ḍād) [ض]. The sound does not exist in any other language around the world, which gave Arabic the title of the language of Ḍād.
The language of the Quran, Arabic does not only hold a symbolic value among Muslims, but is spoken in many churches in the Arab world. A significant part of the Jewish history was also originally written in Arabic.