That was the message of Dr. Abdullah Al-Salman, King Saud University’s vice rector for Educational and Academic Affairs, in his keynote speech delivered December 18 during KSU’s Arabic Language Institute’s (ALI) celebration of World Arabic Language Day in the institute’s auditorium.
The Vice Rector, who arrived at the conference in early morning, was greeted by Dr. Saad Al-Kahtani, the ALI dean; Dr. Rashid A. Addeweesh, vice dean of Educational and Academic Affairs; and Dr. Majed Alhamad, vice dean of Graduate Studies and Scientific Research and the ceremony chairman. Department heads and administration managers were also present.
In Dr. Al-Qahtani’s welcoming address, the dean addressed the importance of World Arabic Language Day to the Kingdom. He explained that it was on December 18, 1973, the United Nation adopted Arabic as an official language for the U.N.’s General Assembly, making Arabic one of six formal languages accepted by international body..
As did Vice Rector Al-Salman, Dr. Al-Qahtani stressed the importance of the Arabic language. “Here in this Institute, we are among the first establishments to celebrate this day,” he said. “In this Institute, Arabic is the language of 250 students from more than 50 different nationalities. Their native languages reached far more.
“They speak Arabic and use it everywhere, at home, in the university, in shopping malls and most importantly they use it to read God’s book in their prayers and their adoration.”
Dr. Al-Qahtani described the day’s ceremony is a celebration of the mission to spread the Arabic language and said “we pray [that] God will guide us to fulfill our mission in a way that pleases Him. The dean said that the mission also has helped the university achieve further international leadership in words and deed and that the Arabic Language Institute is an international façade of this university.
Dean Al-Qahtani continued by saying that the ALI’s mission reflected in Rector Badran Al-Omar’s all-out support for the institute and for its members. He emphasized the role of the ceremony’s patron Vice Rector Al-Salman.
“We in this institute find in him a staunch supporter who cooperated with us untiringly to remove all difficulties from the path of the Institute,” he said, “especially in matters pertaining to scholarships, which the departments of the institute rely on to fulfill their knowledge and research duties.
Dr. Alhamad, the ceremony’s chair, also spoke of the audience’s dedication to the language. “Today we celebrate you and with you,” he said. “We celebrate because you are the cornerstone of this institute and the face of loyalty to Arabic language which shapes our life. It is our language, our identity, our science and our work, our concern and aspiration. Simply, it is our life, our bread-winner, and our gift.
“Our celebration of World Arabic Language Day in the presence of Vice Rector Al-Salman comes within the international revival of Arabic Language in teaching and learning.”
Dr. Alhamad cited a study by the U.S. Modern Language Association, a study that indicates Arabic has been the fastest growing foreign languages in America, and added that World Arabic Language Day is a reminder of the vitality of this language and of those who care for it.”
Vice Rector Al-Salman departed before the end of the ceremony, but the activities continued, including a poem read by student Sheik Kabir Geety and a lecture by Dr. Abd Al-Rahman Ibraheem Al-Fozan, chairman of the WLI’s Teacher Preparation department. The theme of Dr. Al-Fozan’s lecture was “Arabic and the Quran,” a presentation in which he clarified the solid relations between the Holy Quran and Arabic Language. His lecture was followed by discussions and deliberations among the faculty.
Additional poems were delivered by Mughram Al-Shehri and a student, Abdul-Rasheed Udaini Abdulraouf. The latter poem, in parallel to a theatrical presentation, was linked to the state of Arabic today and optimism for the future.
A culture contest was conducted among students from all four levels in the institute’s Language and Culture Department, the Diploma level in the Teacher Training Department and from the Masters level from the Department and the Teachers Preparation Department. Five students from each level were declared winners and received prizes.
Upon conclusion of the ceremony, officials and audience enjoyed festivities in the recreation hall in the ground floor.