The United Nations employs multilingualism as a tool to promote multilateralism and cross-cultural communication, with each of the six official languages celebrated on a specific day. World Arabic Language Day is commemorated on 18 December, the day when the United Nations General Assembly approved Arabic as an official and working language of the United Nations.
To mark the occasion, the ESCWA Conference Services Section organized a cultural event at the United Nations House in Beirut on 15 December 2017. The event opened with a video presentation on the origins and evolution of the Arabic language, and on the old cities where it is spoken and written in prose and poetry. The presentation was followed by a contest where teams competed to answer a series of questions on Arabic syntax, semantics, grammar, poetry and literature.
Mr. Mohamed Ali Alhakim, the Executive Secretary of ESCWA, and Ms. Khawla Matar, the Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCWA, made statements in which they stressed the importance of Arabic as an official United Nations language, and as a common tongue for all ESCWA member States, used to communicate authentic messages to local communities in the Arab region. They said that Arabic was a rich, intricate and beautiful language that must be safeguarded and celebrated across the world in all contexts, from international forums to family dinner tables.
The event concluded with a reading of poems by prominent Arab bards. It was a cultured and enjoyable moment.
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