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UNESCO celebrates first Arabic Language Day

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrated Tuesday the first ever World Arabic Language Day in recognition of its role disseminating information across cultures and civilizations.

“On 18 December 1973, the United Nations General Assembly included Arabic among its official and working languages. Nearly 40 years later, we are celebrating the power of the Arabic language to bring us together around shared values, to give strength to our ideas and depth to our ambitions, for peace and sustainable development,” said Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO in a statement published on their website.

According to UNESCO, the Arabic language is used by more than 422 million speakers in the Arab world and is used by more than 1.5 billion Muslims from all over the world today.

The decision to celebrate Dec. 18 of every year as the Arabic Language Day follows the “need to implement more wide-ranging cooperation between peoples through multilingualism, cultural rapprochement and dialogue among civilizations.”

In the United Arab Emirates Dubai Culture is set to launch ‘Holal’ (Adornment), which will showcase the essence of the Arabic language by promoting its rich legacy in a contemporary approach through a series of training and support for publishers based in the country, according to Khaleej Times.

In Armenia, students, professors and journalists celebrated the Arabic Language day in an event that featured Arabic dances, music, theatrical performance, with those present tasting traditional Arabic cuisine, reported PanArmenian.net.

The initiative to celebrate a dedicated day for the Arabic language was proposed by Morocco and Saudi Arabia on Oct. 3 in Paris during the 190th UNESCO Executive Board session.