First UN Arabic Language Day marked with new centre launch in Dubai

Dubai Centre for Arabic Language aims to promote the use of one of the fastest-growing languages in the world.

DUBAI // A new centre to encourage the use of Arabic is to open next summer.

The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority is marking the first United Nations Arabic Language Day on Wednesday with the launch of the Dubai Centre for Arabic Language.

“Arabic is one of the world’s fastest-growing languages and with the launch of the Dubai Centre for Arabic Language, the authority will further foster a stronger understanding and appreciation for the Arabic language,” said Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed, chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

The centre’s facilities and activities will include a library with a collection of Arabic literature and poetry, Arabic book fairs and exhibitions and workshops including Arabic calligraphy.

The initiative aims to strengthen national identity by reinforcing the usage of the Emirati dialect, according to the authority.

The centre will also place an emphasis on empowering young Arabs who can help in the preservation of the Arabic language and promote it to non-Arab people by teaching them basic language skills.

“The centre aspires to play an integral role in strengthening the usage and interest of the language in Dubai’s cultural community,” said Sheikh Majid.

Asking education institutes to encourage the use of the language in communication is another method the authority intends the centre to employ.

One institute that will benefit from the centre is the Arabic Language Centre, a private business established 33 years ago in Dubai.

“These government initiatives are extremely important,” said Shireen Sinno, its manager.

Initially opened to teach Arabic as a foreign language, the business is now seeing increased interest in the language among native Arabic speakers, including Emiratis.

“With the emphasis Dubai is putting on Arabic, we are seeing interest growing rapidly,” Ms Sinno said.

She said more people were beginning to realise the importance of learning Arabic: “Every resident should know the local language.”

She said Arabic was useful because it was used by the Government in an official capacity, it helped people to understand the local culture more and was essential when travelling to other Arab countries.

“Arabs will look at you differently if you speak their language, it gives you a big advantage,” she said.