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Building peace in the minds of men and women

World Arabic Language Day

18 December

The Arabic language is a pillar of the cultural diversity of humanity. It 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 18 December 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 Organization.

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.

World Arabic Language Day 2021: Arabic Language, a bridge between civilisations

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 globalized, digitalized and multilingual societies, the 2021 theme is of urgent relevance. It recognizes the changing world and the imperative to reinforce dialogue between nations and peoples.

To commemorate the Day UNESCO is organizing a virtual panel discussion on 17 December from 11 am to 1 pm (GMT+1).


"Throughout the centuries, Arabic has been at the heart of exchanges between continents and across cultures. (...) On this World Arabic Language Day, UNESCO encourages everyone to look to the common roots of civilizations and strive for a more united world."

— Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

Download the complete message in PDF format:
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Exhibition on "Arabic Language, a Bridge Between Civilizations"

© Shareef Sarhan


18 artists, 18 artworks , 18 stories of beauty, resilience, diversity, coexisting and peace.

A special exhibition will celebrate World Arabic Language Day.

Bayt al-Hikmah - the House of Wisdom

© 1001 inventions / House of Wisdom

Also known as the Grand Library of Baghdad, the House of Wisdom is often referred to a public academy and a learning institution. Founded in Baghdad by the the Abbassid ruler Harun al-Rashid in the late 8th century, Bayt al- Ḥikmah gained popularity under Caliph al-Ma’mun.  It quickly became a main center of translations, study and transfer of knowledge. People from all over the Islamic world flocked to the House of Wisdom, speaking many languages and discussing on topics such as philosophy, literature, mathematics, medicine, astronomy and optics.



The poster for World Arabic Language Day is an artwork of the Tunisian calligrapher Karim Jabbari which illustrates the following piece of poetry

"He who imbued languages with the highest qualities
Bequeathed to Arabic the secret of beauty

— Ahmed Chawqi