Qatar National Library (QNL), in collaboration with the Qatari Literature Initiative, om Saturday hosted a lively public event that discussed 'The Law on the Protection of the Arabic Language'.
A series of engaging presentations were delivered by HE Lolwah Rashid al-Khater, Spokesperson for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr Ali al-Kubaisi, director-general of the World Organisation for the Renaissance of Arabic Language; and Azudin al-Boshikhi, head of Doha Historical Dictionary of Arabic.
“QNL is promoting Arabic language in many ways, firstly, through our extensive collection of Arabic books available to the community, which is continuously expanding. Our efforts to promote literacy among future generations are also reflected in our support to Arabic writers and publishers,” said Dr Sohair Wastawy, executive director of QNL.
“Another important focus area is to increase the range of Arabic content available on the web, and we do this through a process where we digitise and use optical character recognition methods to make the Arabic text accessible and searchable online. In this way, we are using our digital resources to facilitate a wider use and understanding of the language.”
The vital task of protecting the role of the Arabic language in Qatar’s educational, cultural, economic, and media sectors began with an initiative launched by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation, in 2013, which established the World Organisation for the Renaissance of Arabic Language. The law is a continuation of those efforts to raise awareness of the importance of Arabic as a national language.
“QNL has a special position in the society, and it is a meeting place for Qataris and residents. It can play a very important role in teaching Arabic to the residents and generally, to people visiting Qatar, by organising short language programmes. The Library also has a number of really good books within its collection that people can borrow to learn Arabic,” said Jaber al-Jehani, a participant at the event.
Sara Mukhtar, another participant at the event, added: “I am glad the Library is collaborating with local groups to discuss the importance of Arabic language, and how it can be promoted in professional fields. Such events will surely help not only the native Arabic speakers, but also those willing to learn Arabic as a second language.”