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18 December 2023
UNESCO Headquarters
Europe/Paris timezone

World Arabic Language Day

December 18
arabic calligraphy

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 400 million people. World Arabic Language Day has been celebrated every year on December 18 since 2012. This date coincides with the day when, in 1973, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Arabic as the sixth official language of the Organization.

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


On this World Arabic Language Day, UNESCO would like to call for celebrating not only a language, but also a culture; and more broadly, underline the extent to which we need these diversities of outlook on the world: they are an inestimable wealth and the fundamental condition for lasting peace.

Audrey Azoulay
Audrey AzoulayDirector General of UNESCO
Message from the Director-General of UNESCO
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