Dubai, UAE, 26 September 2022 – The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) organized a virtual panel discussion titled ‘Linguistic Identity in a Changing World’, which was held under the ‘Bil Arabi’ initiative launched by the MBRF. The initiative aims at strengthening the position of Arabic language and motivating Arabs to communicate in the mother tongue on online platforms. It has been implemented to develop the knowledge role of Arabic in the Arabic community and in the international community as well.
Dr. Sawsan Al-Abtah, professor of Islamic civilization at the Arabic Language Department at the Lebanese University in Beirut and writer for Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, and Nabil Suleiman, writer and novelist participated in the panel with journalist Hussein Darwish moderating the discussion.
The discussion highlighted numerous topics such as linguistic identity being a component of national identity, role of digital content in enhancing the Arabic library, and the technological gap among new generations.
During the panel, Dr. Sawsan Al-Abtah shed light on the significance and contribution of technology in our lives. She highlighted the contribution of technology in national awareness and the prevalence on Arabic identity on social media platforms. She discussed ways to enhance knowledge and science in Arabic by utilizing optimum tools to reach the Arab audience.
Al-Abtah emphasized on the need for constant development in Arab countries on culture and knowledge value to strengthen the ties in the Arab world. She highlighted that technology does not require intricate training and can be self-taught. One requires courage to try to learn it themselves, and also said that the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the use of technology in all aspects of life, specifically in education, besides the traditional social media platforms.
She concluded stating the importance of learning the mother tongue to solidify one’s identity and personality, as in the current times, people are isolating children from the surroundings and cultural identity if the medium of communication used is not Arabic.
Nabil Suleiman highlighted communication as a means to strengthen the bond between people as it is their identity and a bridge between cultures. He stressed that multilingualism is a complex problem that creates a cultural gaps and contradictions.
He highlighted that awareness on Arabic language and cultural identity is on the decline as educational systems have witnessed whole generations being excluded due to wars and conflicts during the last decade. However, there have been tremendous efforts in strengthening the Arabic identity in many Arab countries, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
He stated that Arabic has a minimal presence in the digital world and to address these optimum teaching and using knowledge to enhance the Arabic is required in line with the advancements in the modern world.
The ‘Bil Arabi’ initiative was implemented to hold various events on digital and social media to create awareness on the importance and beauty of Arabic language and its intricacies that reflect the Arabic tradition and history.