RIYADH: Saudi and EU partners have come together to mark the European Day of Languages and promote better communication and cultural understanding.
The EU delegation to Saudi Arabia, in partnership with the Riyadh Language Exchange, marked the day on Monday as it prepared to host a European Night of Languages on Wednesday.
Participants at the event at the Hyatt Regency Riyadh will have the chance to test their language skills with staff from several EU embassies, learn basic words and phrases in less common languages, and play games and quizzes.
Patrick Simonnet, the EU’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “Europe is known for its cultural and linguistic diversity. Almost two-thirds of Europeans are able to converse in one or more foreign languages. Language is what connects us as people and enables us to communicate and better understand one-another.
“It is encouraging to see that also more and more Saudis are interested in learning languages. There has never been a better time to learn a new language and reap the socioeconomic benefits that multilingualism has to offer, from global access to knowledge and education to better job opportunities and greater cultural understanding.”
Mohammed Matham, co-founder of the Riyadh Language Exchange, a Saudi non-profit organization, said he was pleased to partner with the EU for the event.
“Our efforts over the past four years to support the practice of languages and cultural exchange are bearing fruit,” he added.
“It is a great privilege to partner with the EU delegation to organize such an exceptional event.”
The European Day of Languages was also marked at the SEK International School and the German International School, both in Riyadh, where students participated in activities focused on language learning.
Alliance Francaise and the Goethe-Institut both offered a free beginners’ class in French and German respectively.
The annual celebration is organized by the European Commission and the Council of Europe to promote linguistic diversity and cultural heritage, reinforce cultural understanding, and encourage people of all ages to learn languages.