The Qatari Forum for Authors announced a three-month long series of events in celebration of World Arabic Language Day, which are scheduled to continue until the first of March. This announcement came during a Forum session attended by Ms. Mariam Yassine Al-Hammadi, Director of the Culture and Arts Administration and General Manager of the Qatari Forum for Authors, Mr. Abdullah Al-Kubaissy, Acting Secretary General of the Qatari National Commission for Education, Culture, and Science, Dr. Abdul Haq Bilabid, Forum member and events organizer, and Dr. Ahmed Al-Janabi, supervisor at Mirqat Qatar for the Teaching of Arabic Oratory Arts, an event organized by the Forum as part of the Doha Capital of Islamic Culture 2021 celebrations.
At the beginning of the opening session, Al-Hammadi emphasized the importance of celebrating the World Arabic Language Day because of its association with Arab identity, Islam, and the Qur’an, which was revealed in Arabic. The first of March was chosen to mark World Arabic Language Day because on the first of March 1973, the United Nations General Assembly decided to recognize Arabic as a sixth official language of the organization. She announced that this year’s celebration will focus on Arabic as a language of cultural contact. It is a call to reaffirm the invaluable role of Arabic as a means of building bridges among diverse peoples to spread culture, science, and arts.
Al-Hammadi also announced that the Forum and the Committee will hold a series of events, seminars, and workshops over three months ending on March 1st, which marks World Arabic Language Day. These activities will be organized in collaboration with several national, regional, and international organizations and numerous Arabic specialists. She added that the opening session would be held virtually, hosting representatives of Arab organizations, unions, and specialized councils and that invitations have been extended to various educational and academic institutions. Al-Hammadi announced that the Ministry of Culture, represented by the Qatari Forum for Authors, is collaborating with Qatar University and other educational institutions, as well as various cultural centers, to organize various cultural programs as part of the celebrations. Moreover, the Qatar National Library will hold Arabic language related events and activities to coincide with the celebrations.
Events and Activities
Al-Kubaissy emphasized that celebrating World Arabic Language Day stems from the belief that Arabic is the language of the Holy Qur’an and that Arabic is the cornerstone of national, as well as Arab and Islamic, identity. He also announced some events and activities including the keynote address entitled Arabic and Cultural Contact. Several international organizations (e.g., UNESCO, ICESCO, ALECSO, Arabic language academies, and the Arab Universities Union) were contacted and invited to participate in the events. A series of seminars will be held in collaboration with Qatar University, including Arabic and Child Culture (in coordination with the College of Education), The Status of Arabic in Arabic Legal Systems (in coordination with the College of Law), Celebrating the World Arabic Language Day (in coordination with the Arabic Department, College of Arts and Sciences), a seminar entitled Arabic for the Protection and Enabling of Future Generations (in coordination with the Police Academy), Linguistic Identity and the Development of Good Citizens (in coordination with Ahmed bin Mohammed Military College), a training workshop on Arabic writing for diplomatic purposes (in coordination with The Diplomatic Institute), a TED in Arabic presentation on the Qatar Foundation experience. The events include a series of lectures, such as Arabic in Diaspora, Protecting Arabic: From Language Policies to Linguistic Security, and Arabic Computational Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence. The closing session of events is scheduled on the first of March, which is the official date of World Arabic Language Day.
Dr. Abdul Haq Bilabid, Professor of literature, critical and comparative studies at Qatar University and events organizer for World Arabic Language Day celebrations, presented the outcomes of the 2019-2020 celebrations organized collaboratively by The Qatari Forum for Authors and the Qatari National Commission for Education, Culture, and Science. The 2019-2020 celebrations included more than 20 events, including 11 international seminars on the teaching of Arabic during the pandemic by Qatari and international experts in the field.
Language expert Dr. Ahmed Al-Janabi gave a talk entitle “Mirqat Qatar and Cultural Contact,” in which he highlighted the role of The Qatari Forum for Authors in supporting the Arabic language and reinforcing state efforts and initiatives in this area. He also talked about Mirqat Qatar, a Forum initiative in collaboration with Mr. Mohammed Al-Shabrawi aimed to promote cultural contact through heritage language arts. The initiative supports traditional oratory arts and the development of new oration styles. Participants presented speeches controlled to exclude specific alphabet letters as well as rhyming speeches on contemporary topics such as the pandemic.