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Book fair in Riyadh to mark World Arabic Language Day

Saudi Arabia will celebrate “World Arabic Language Day” on Dec. 18 as part of a new UN initiative, which was launched following a proposal made by Saudi Arabia and Morocco. The celebration seeks to promote multilingualism and cultural diversity on a global level, as well as celebrate the Arabic language’s role and contributions to the promotion and preservation of human civilization and culture.
This was disclosed by Abdullah Al-Jasser, deputy minister of culture and information, here on Sunday. Al-Jasser said that a book fair would be inaugurated on Wednesday to mark the occasion. The event, he said, commemorates Dec. 18, 1973, when the UN General Assembly designated Arabic as the sixth official language of the UN.
Al-Jasser said Arabic is the language of 22 member states of UNESCO, besides being one of the most commonly used languages that is spoken by more than 425 million people today, most of whom live in the Middle East and North Africa. The book fair will be inaugurated by Information and Culture Minister Abdulaziz Khoja, said the deputy minister.
He said the ministry will honor the late Mohammed Al-Rasheed, education minister, for his contributions to the promotion of the Arabic language and courses in Saudi Arabia. The ministry would also hold a seminar on “Saudi media and the Arabic language.”
Adel Al-Sharif, an Arabic scholar who teaches foreign students in the Kingdom, said that “Arabic is the richest language, spoken currently in more than 22 countries … and used by the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.”
“Nearly 40 years later after the UN recognized Arabic, we are celebrating the power of the Arabic language that promotes shared values, peace and brotherhood,” he added.
Arabic became an UN official working language by virtue of a UN General Assembly resolution. The UN Department of Public Information announced the decision to celebrate an international day for each of the six official languages of the UN in an effort to support and strengthen linguistic and cultural diversity within the UN system.
French Day is celebrated on Mar. 20, while English Day and Russian Day are observed on April 23 and June 6 respectively. Nov. 13 is the UN day for Chinese and Oct. 12 for Spanish.

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