Building peace in the minds of men and women

World Arabic Language Day

18 December

The Arabic language is a pillar of the cultural diversity of humanity. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, used daily by more than 290 million people. World Arabic Language Day is celebrated every year on 18 December since 2012. The date coincides with the day in 1973 that the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Arabic as the sixth official language of the Organization.

In the diversity of its forms, classic or dialectal, from oral expression to poetic calligraphy, the Arabic language has given rise to a fascinating aesthetic, in fields as varied as architecture, poetry, philosophy and song. It gives access to an incredible variety of identities and beliefs and its history reveals the richness of its links with other languages. Arabic has played a catalytic role in knowledge, promoting the dissemination of Greek and Roman sciences and philosophies to Renaissance Europe. It has enabled a dialogue of cultures along the silk roads, from the coast of India to the Horn of Africa.

Arabic Language and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the theme of World Arabic Language Day celebration in 2019, held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 18 December. Several round table discussions will discuss the role of AI in promoting and preserving Arabic language, and issues related to the computerization of Arabic language. The celebration is organized in cooperation with the Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Foundation.


"While it poses its share of threats to multilingualism, artificial intelligence is also a formidable source of opportunities and promise. With the development of instantaneous translation tools, it could facilitate dialogue between peoples and cultures. With improved and personalized teaching, it could also greatly facilitate the learning of several languages and thus promote the development of the Arabic language."

— Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

Download the complete message in PDF format:
English | Français | Español | Русский | العربية | 中文



The poster for World Arabic Language Day is an artwork of the Tunisian calligrapher Karim Jabbari which illustrates the following piece of poetry

"He who imbued languages with the highest qualities
Bequeathed to Arabic the secret of beauty

— Ahmed Chawqi