Unesco to celebrate World Arabic Language Day with artwork, calligraphy

The rich diversity of the Arabic language will be commemorated on December 18

By Wam

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Reuters file for illustrative purposes
Reuters file for illustrative purposes

Published: Fri 17 Dec 2021, 1:42 PM

The world family will mark the World Arabic Language Day on December 18 under the theme "Arabic Language, a bridge between civilisations".

Unesco says Arabic is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, used daily by more than 400 million people.

World Arabic Language Day is celebrated every year on December 18 since 2012. The date coincides with the day in 1973 that the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Arabic as the sixth official language of the organisation.

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.

This year’s World Arabic Language Day theme "Arabic Language, a bridge between civilisations" is a call to reaffirm the important role of the Arabic language in connecting people through culture, science, literature and many more domains.

The theme highlights the historic role of Arabic in creating and transmitting knowledge, as well as in enhancing dialogue and building peace. For centuries, Arabic was the common ground, the connector, that reflected the richness of human existence and provided access to numerous resources.

In increasingly globalisation, digitalized and multilingual societies, the 2021 theme is of urgent relevance. It recognises the changing world and the imperative to reinforce dialogue between nations and peoples.

To celebrate the Day, Unesco will organize a virtual panel discussion on December 17, where experts, academics, journalists and representatives of specialized institutions will gather to debate on the historic role of Arabic in creating and transmitting knowledge and Arabic language as a tool to enhance dialogue and build peace.

The celebration also resonates with the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), for which Unesco is the lead UN Agency.


On the occasion, Unesco organises an exhibition on "Arabic Language, a Bridge Between Civilizations" with the support of the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation, on the fences of its Headquarters Building in Paris, from December 6 to 20.

Celebrating the rich diversity of Arabic language, its strong bonds with various forms of cultural expression, and its significant role in connecting peoples and promoting dialogue, it will showcase diverse approaches to using Arabic language and calligraphy.

Composed of impactful artworks, its aim is to spread a message of hope, peace, resilience, and beauty among people, regardless of their language, culture or any other difference.

The exhibition includes works by 18 artists from 13 countries around the world. Applying various techniques, from classical calligraphy to contemporary graffiti styles, these artists incorporate the Arabic letters in their work to address humanist themes and convey messages of hope, peace, resilience and unity.

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