The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday approved plans to establish the King Salman International Complex for the Arabic Language.
It is part of the Kingdom’s wide-ranging initiatives to promote the Arabic language.
The planned complex will cover areas ranging from publications to research activities, as well as AI applications, organizing events and conferences, setting up Arabic teaching centers, the introduction of a comprehensive Arab language testing system, and media campaigns.
It will target Arabic-speaking academics specialized in the arts, politics, technology, education, and content creators, as well as those who use Arabic as a second language.
Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said the complex will be a global community to serve the Arabic language and support its modern linguistic applications. It will also show the Kingdom’s keenness to serve the language of the Holy Qur’an, he added.
There are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world who read the Qur’an and understand the phonetics of the Arabic language.
With an estimated 422 million speakers, Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world. There are 26 countries where Arabic is recognized by the government as an official language, with 18 having it as their first language.
The project aims to highlight the position of this Semitic language, and activate its role regionally and globally.
It will also work to enhance Arab cultural identity, and its activities will include supporting linguistic applications, products, and research in the Kingdom as well as the Arab and Islamic worlds.
According to Dr. Omar Al-Mahmoud, professor of rhetoric and literary criticism at Imam Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University, the project can help expand the reach of Arabic across the Muslim world.
“It is one of the most important means of communication and rapprochement between Muslims,” Al-Mahmoud told Arab News.
He said academics and those interested in Arabic have welcomed the decision, as it will help restore the language’s prestigious and powerful cultural role. “It will give a boost … and help its spread,” Al-Mahmoud added.
People from all segments of society have welcomed the decision and praised the Kingdom for taking the step.
Chinese Ambassador Chen Weiqing said on Twitter: “I congratulate the establishment of King Salman International Complex for the Arabic Language in the birthplace of the Arabic language. The history of teaching Arabic in Chinese universities goes back 70 years.”
He added: “We will continue linguistic, cultural and educational exchange and cooperation with the Kingdom, so that our people, especially our youth, inherit our traditional friendship and create our common future.”
Saudi Arabia’s cultural vision includes a great emphasis on international cultural exchanges through international partnerships.