Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has launched the Arabian Days Festival to celebrate the history or the Arabic language and support its preservation and cross-cultural understanding. The festival will take place from 15-18 December 2023 at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Held under the theme of Arabic as the Language of Poetry and Arts, the festival will feature interactive installations, films, performances and workshops. The event will gather artists, musicians, poets, writers and other performers from around the world.

His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Arabian Days will bring to life the many ways in which the Arabic language has inspired art and culture, forming a cornerstone of our cultural identity. Arabian Days coincides with the annual celebration of UNESCO's World Arabic Language Day on 18 December. Education around the language can help instil cross-cultural understanding and support our tangible and intangible heritage. This event unites diverse voices, including those with a passion for Arabic and those who are new to the language, to come together in the spirit of creativity and cultural exchange.”

His Excellency Dr Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre, said: “I am proud to see the launch of what will become an annual opportunity for enthusiasts of the Arabic language and culture to come together and celebrate our beautiful language. By supporting established and emerging talent, Arabian Days will become a key cultural date in the Abu Dhabi calendar and help younger Arabic speakers and non-Arabic speakers recognise the extraordinary creative potential of the language and inspire a range of art forms. The event is an important milestone in our work to promote the Arabic language and encourage its use across all fields of knowledge and creativity.”

Featured performers included Spanish band Al-Mawlid, Russian students from HSE Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and Naseer Shamma, Iraqi musician and oud player. The programme will also feature art exhibitions, including a gallery displaying artworks from the finalists of the Kanz Al Jeel prize, and paintings by Mahmoud Shubbar.

The festival will also feature the live work of Lebanese graffiti artist Georges Ekmekji, who will create a new piece during the event. Cinema Akil will host a pop-up cinema, showing a programme of long-form films around the theme of Arabic writers and poets, alongside bonfire storytelling featuring traditional and contemporary Arabic narratives.

Literary-themed workshops will also be hosted through the festival for both speakers and non-speakers of Arabic, in addition to historical reenactments. The programme also includes literary discussions and in-depth dialogue of poets, artists, and writers, including Mona Zaki, Marwan Khoury, Ahmed Abdel Muti Hegazy, Najat Makki, Nujoom Al-Ghanem, Sarah Dandrawi, Rima Khashish, and Salwa Al-Ahmad.