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Teaching the Arabic language in Spain and Europe

From December 16, 2021 until December 18, 2021Thursday, December 16, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday, December 17, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.


To mark 2021 as the International Year of the Arabic Language and the day dedicated to this language each year, December 18, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Casa Árabe and CIHAR, in conjunction with the Diplomatic Mission of the Arab League in Madrid, are organizing this international gathering to be held on December 16 and 17 at the UAM and Casa Árabe, as well as a Ceremony of Poetry, Reading and Music held to pay homage to the Arabic Language on December 18 at Casa Árabe.

For the first time ever, this international event will bring together representatives of institutions devoted to teaching the Arabic language from all over Spain in different arenas: universities, educational institutions, official language schools, private academies and civil society. They will be analyzing and evaluating the current status of teaching Arabic as a foreign language on the European continent in general, and mainly in Spain. To do so, a group of Arab, European and Spanish specialists in teaching Arabic as a foreign language will be discussing the issues of teaching systems, forms of cooperation between different administrative bodies, institutions and public and private centers of learning, the most important ways to promote increased knowledge about the Arabic language and culture in Spain and Europe, and ways to lend greater visibility to the Arab cultural phenomena on our continent.

The purpose is for teachers, specialists, education professionals and students to reflect upon the needs of learners and educators, the utility of approaches to learning and teaching used in our country and Europe and, moreover, finding ways to cooperate and share opinions and experiences among all of the public, private and hybrid organizations where the Arabic language is taught. Other significant topics to be discussed in relation with the present and immediate future of the Arabic language in Spain and Europe will be certification of Arabic language skill (there are no unified criteria on this matter), the professional opportunities provided by degrees in Arabic Studies, and the collaboration with universities and Arab public organizations both in the Maghreb and Mashreq regions.

The events on December 16 will be held at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, with an opening session presided over by Ali Abdallah Musa, director of the International Council of the Arabic Language (Beirut); he will address the future of the Arabic language in the Western world. Speaking thereafter will be Marc Van Mol, professor emeritus at the Catholic University of Louvain, on Arabic language learning in Belgium, and then Joseph Dichy, an educator at the University of Lyon, at a conference titled “The development of the Arabic language and technological media: Arabic culture beyond the twenty-first century.” Furthermore, representatives from the Arabic departments at the Universities of Murcia, Alcalá de Henares, Zaragoza, Salamanca, Cádiz, Granada and Barcelona, as well as the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Universidad Complutense de Madrid, will be participating in a round table discussion about the Arabic language at Spain’s universities. In the afternoon, two round tables will be held, the first on “Official language schools and private centers of learning,” with the participation of Casa Árabe’s Arabic Language Center, Spain’s Official Language Schools of Jesús Maestro (Madrid) and Almería, Academia Árabe and Anta Academia; while the second will discuss “The Arabic language in society,” with the participation of the ASILIM Association, the Mosque of Peace (Guadalajara), Saint Louis University’s Madrid Campus, the Abrazando Ilusiones Foundation, the Jerusalem Spanish-Palestinian Association, the Ahlul Bayt Foundation, the School of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fuenlabrada and the Lybian College in Madrid.

The day of events on December 17 at Casa Árabe will begin with a presentation by Montserrat Rabadán Carrascosa, a professor at the Free University of Berlin, on “The teaching of Arabic in Germany: A comparison with the United States and Spain.” It will be followed by a round table on “The official certification of Arabic language skills,” with the participation of the University of Granada, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Casa Árabe’s Arabic Language Center, the CIHAR Foundation / Pablo Olavide University, the Egyptian Islamic Center of Madrid, Toledo’s School of Translators, and the Language Teaching Service of Spain’s Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. Reem Bassiouny, a writer and professor at the American University of Cairo, will close off the day of events at Casa Árabe with a presentation on “The contribution of sociolinguistics to the Arabic language,” as part of the event series Aula Árabe Universitaria III.

Check the schedule of the International Meeting on “The Teaching of the Arabic Language in Spain and Europe” to be held on December 16 and 17, at the UAM and Casa Árabe.

After the aforementioned events have ended, on December 18 there will be a Ceremony for World Arabic Language Day, organized by CIHAR at Casa Árabe from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The ceremony will include a reading of texts by the students who have received awards, a recital of poetry by Wallada and Ibn Zaydun, the handing out of diplomas, and a short concert with music from Al-Andalus, given by Houssam. The ceremony will be presented by CIHAR’s Vice-President, Nour Larbi, and its Deputy President, Hanan Saleh, with attendance by Ambassador Malek Twal, Head of the Diplomatic Mission from the Arab League.

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