In collaboration with the Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture, and Science, the Qatari Forum for Authors organized a discussion session hosting Dr. Najaa Kallash, Professor at the University of the International Studies of Rome – UNINT. The session, which is part of the Forum’s efforts to celebrate the Arabic language, focused on Dr. Kallash’s experience teaching Arabic to non-native speakers.
Dr. Kallash described UNINT as “a dynamic private university with three colleges: the College of Economics, the College of Political Science, and the College of Translation. The College of Translation offers seven language options: English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Portuguese, and Arabic.”
Regarding the academic programs at UNINT, Dr. Kallash explained that the university offers undergraduate and graduate (M.A.) programs. The undergraduate Arabic language, culture, and translation courses are designed for students to reach the B2 proficiency level, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, by the end of three years of instruction. Graduate courses at the M.A. level are more specialized, as students train on translation and interpretation. They also study Arabic literature, linguistics, and advanced writing skills. By the end of the M.A. program, students reach the C1 level, as they can perform translation as well as simultaneous and consecutive interpretation to and from Arabic and Italian.
In addition to language instruction, the Arabic program at UNINT offers extra-curricular activities that promote language learning and cultural awareness. Each year, the Arabic program celebrates the UN Arabic Language Day in collaboration with some Arab embassies in Rome.
As for interest in learning Arabic in Italy, Dr. Kallash explained that there are numerous Italian universities that offer Arabic language instruction, but there are only a few with Oriental Studies programs. She added that Arabic is taught only at the college level and not in K-12 programs, and most college courses focus on Standard Arabic. Colloquial Arabic is offered at the graduate level in order to offer a deeper understanding of Arabic diglossia.
The discussion session included some videos of UNINT students participating in language and culture learning activities and expressing their love of Arabic and Arab culture.