Book fair in Riyadh to mark World Arabic Language Day

Updated 16 December 2013

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.


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.