The Arabic language will continue to thrive

Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed, chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Committee, has been appointed chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office . Courtesy Abu Dhabi Government Media Office
Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed, chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Committee, has been appointed chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office . Courtesy Abu Dhabi Government Media Office

The Arab world is home to a diverse set of literary and cultural traditions that have shaped our identities and informed our shared history. It is our collective duty to keep this heritage alive for generations to come, and this is done first and foremost by cherishing and preserving the Arabic language.

This is why Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed’s call for initiatives promoting Arabic language and literature is most welcome. On Wednesday, Sheikh Khalid called for new programmes to boost Arabic language skills and foster storytelling through poetry.. The goal of this move is to keep the UAE’s cultural traditions thriving and to give a breath of fresh air to Arab literature.

This is all the more pressing at a time when 70 per cent of young Arabs feel that their mother tongue is losing its value, according to the 2017 Arab Youth Survey. The report also showed that more than half of young Arab - and two thirds of Gulf youth - admit they use more English than Arabic in their daily lives.

That many young Arabs now master another language attests to their openness to the world. However, this does not have to come at the expense of our own language. And UAE leaders are making it a top priority to encourage Emiratis to be proud of their mother tongue.

Last month, the Minister of Education Hussain Al Hammadi has called on pupils and parents to suggest innovative ideas to make Arabic courses more dynamic and engaging. This Wednesday, on Emirati Women’s Day, officials announced the launch of a new award for Nabati Poetry. The competition is named after Emirati poetess Osha Bint Khalifa Alsuwaidi and aims to celebrate the legacy of a renowned woman of letters while inspiring others to follow in her footsteps. Emirati leaders have also led by example. This May, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, shared his joy over the marriage of his three sons in a poem.

Arabic has the potential to connect us together. It is the sacred language in which all Muslims pray and the mother tongue of 22 nations spanning over two continents. It is now up to the younger generation to draw inspiration from this rich history and keep Arabic literary traditions alive.

Updated: August 29, 2019 09:23 PM

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