The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), and the Arab Youth Centre (AYC) have launched the Arabic Language Youth Council, designed to promote the Arabic language in line with the needs of younger generations, who stand to revitalise the language and empower it to evolve and adapt in the future.

The initiative is a result of the partnership between the ALC and the AYC and is launched in collaboration with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation and the Zai Centre for Arabic language research at Zayed University. The Arabic Language Youth Councilis a notable addition to the efforts made by these four institutions to implement innovative new methods to promote the use of Arabic and empower young people to actively shape the future of their language.

The ALC, the AYC, and other partners will serve as the General Secretariat of the initiative. The AYC will assume operations management duties for the project, while the ALC will oversee intellectual and linguistic content, in addition to playing an advisory role and coordinating with all entities that share common goals with the Arabic Language Youth Council.

The Council’s mandate will include holding specialised workshops and seminars to bring young people together with representatives of regional Arabic language academies and research centres. These sessions will host lecturers and researchers with extensive expertise in developing and updating dictionaries, in an effort to inspire young participants with global success stories which will inform their efforts to reinvigorate the Arabic language in the UAE.

The Council will also be active in conducting field research, collecting statistics, and organising surveys, with a particular focus on new vocabulary used by Arab youth, and the extent to which it can be adapted and integrated into the Arabic language.

Membership in the Arabic Language Youth Council is open to all nationalities. The initiative targets Arabic speakers aged 18 to 35, across all academic disciplines and employment sectors, as well as non-Arabic-speaking youth who are studying or interested in the language. To be nominated for membership in the Council, candidates must have excelled in fields related to the Arabic language, including reading, writing, and conversation. Furthermore, they must possess outstanding personal skills, and have made impactful contributions to the community at large.

His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said: “The Arabic language faces a range of challenges which require innovative solutions, projects, and initiatives. In alignment with the National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries and the Abu Dhabi Strategy for Culture and Identity,  the Arabic Language Youth Council represents a systematic approach to enabling the Arabic language to thrive and regain its prominent role in personal, professional and educational settings – while taking into consideration the changing needs of contemporary Arab society. We are proud to collaborate with the Arab Youth Centre and all our partners towards our shared goal of increasing the use of the Arabic language within Emirati and wider Arab society.”

His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, said: “The Arabic language is the subject of special attention at the highest levels in the UAE. In recent years, it has become a major part of the country’s comprehensive development strategies, which can be seen clearly in numerous government projects and initiatives.”

“The Arabic language itself is not in danger, but the relationship Arabic speakers have with their language is not optimal. With that in mind, initiatives that focus on the Arabic language, particularly those directed to young people, such as the Arabic Language Youth Council, become all the more important; these initiatives create promising opportunities for us to achieve our goals, connect youth with their native tongue, and bring the Arabic language into the modern era.”

Dr. Hanada Taha, Endowed Chair Professor of Arabic Language and Director of the Zai Centre at Zayed University, said: “Getting close to young people allows academic and research institutions to understand their vision and needs, and to encourage their attachment to their language and identity. Youth are the group most capable of designing and developing projects and initiatives that meet and cater to these needs, adapting to increasingly rapid developments.”

“We are delighted to be working with all of our partners, providing them with research and information to support and preserve the Arabic language. More importantly, we look forward to exploring opportunities across various sectors still untapped by the Arabic language, in line with its rapid development, especially in the technology and entrepreneurship sectors.”

Sadeq Jarrar, Executive Director at AYC, said: “The Arab Youth Centre is committed to supporting all efforts to strengthen young people’s connection with their language and identity, offering them myriad programmes and projects to build their skills and engage them in various development plans. The Centre will collaborate with its partners in the Arabic Language Youth Council to support the youth’s efforts to strengthen the Arabic language, all the while creating personal, professional, and national opportunities related to our identity and our language, and aligning them with the needs of young generations. The youth are the most capable of bringing new life to the Arabic language, and exploring its capacity to adapt to the developments of the times.”