When Arabic speakers and education activists from different Arab countries came together in one place to share their views, ideas, skills and experiences with a global audience through the groundbreaking TEDinArabic initiative, it reflected the adaptability of the Arabic language, its ability to excel in the fields of science, literature and poetry – and how the Qatar Foundation advances them.
The third regional event organized as part of TEDinArabic – created through a partnership between the Qatar Foundation (QF) and TED to amplify ideas in the Arabic language – saw interactive workshops and discussions highlighting the richness of the Arabic language as one of the fundamental elements that unites Arab history, heritage and civilization, reflecting its characteristics that make it a living and advanced language capable of keeping pace with the modern world.
“The Qatar Foundation has always been a pioneer in international partnerships, and its collaboration with TED to launch TEDinArabic has provided Arab youth with the opportunity to tell stories about the success of researchers and experts in their various fields of work” , said Moza Khalid Al-Hajri of Georgetown University in Qatar, a QF partner university, who delivered the keynote address at the event hosted by the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in the Moroccan city of Ben Heal.
“Young people believe in the importance of the Arabic language as a cornerstone of our identity, and that any change we want to bring to the world must be based on a rooted identity.
“The conference allowed us, as students and researchers from various Arab countries, to discuss our thoughts and concerns regarding the Arabic language and to create fruitful social networks that will help us move forward in the next steps.
Lebanese writer, poet and Arabic language advocate Suzan Talhouk said: “The partnership between the Qatar Foundation and TED is of great significance as it builds bridges with young people and gives them hope to reach the success they seek by sharing their ideas and experiences. with Arabic speakers from all over the world.
Speaking about the perception that the Arabic language is struggling to keep pace with progress in scientific and digital fields, Talhouk said: “Summarizing the role of language in a particular field is a mistake and refers to the culture cancellation that some are used to”, explaining that the Arabic language can shine in fields such as poetry, theater, literature and the humanities.
“Why do we only focus on the need for the Arabic language to follow the sciences, when our language expresses infinite things?”
And focusing on the impact of Arabic dialects on the progression of the Arabic language, Talhouk said: “The perception of the erasure of dialects – if we want to develop the classical Arabic language – is inconsistent and not applicable. These dialects fall under cultural heritage of each country, and our dialects can coexist with the classical language in the same way that literature and science coexist.”
Dr. Charles Muhannad Malak, a Syrian researcher in molecular and cellular biology and oncology, said: “The development that the Arabic language is experiencing in literature, humanities and art is proof that this language is also capable of achieving the same progress in the world. scientific field, which refutes the assertion that the Arabic language is a “static language”.
And academic Hassan Radwan, director of the School of Architecture, Planning and Design at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, said fluency in the Arabic language is one of the main pillars of excellence in students, keeping them aware of their cultural heritage. “Investing in scientific research in the Arab world and internationally is one of the most important foundations for the success of Arab universities,” he said.
“Despite the range of languages used, the orientation of Moroccan universities is deep in Arab and African civilization and identity which is open to other civilizations and cultures, whether local or regional.”
Mohammed Al-Janahi, Professional Learning Designer at QF’s Educational Development Institute, described TEDinArabic as a pioneering initiative that “gives Arab minds a space to spread their ideas and contribute to the cultural and scientific movement in internationally”.
A workshop he led at the third regional TEDinArabic event shed light on the emergence of grammar rules and schools of Arabic poetry, focusing on simplifying these rules so that attendees instill in them a love of this type of literature. “I was amazed at the interaction of the participants and the ability of a number of them to write poetry verses at the end of the workshop,” he said.
“The audience was the real star of this literary event, and despite the fact that our local dialects differ greatly, Classical Arabic brought our hearts and tongues together.”
Mohammad Salman Ali, Debate Instructor at QF’s QatarDebate, led a workshop on Persuasion and Influencing Skills, which aimed to familiarize students with basic presentation skills and tools to capture the audience’s attention, especially in critical discussions. Meanwhile, a session moderated by Fatima El-Mahdi, head of THIMUN Qatar – an initiative under QF’s pre-university education that sees young people simulating United Nations committees – revolved around the importance for citizens Arab countries to explore themselves and those of neighboring countries, tell their stories and share their heritage through music, art and poetry.
El-Mahdi said information about Arab countries available through internet search engines often lacks precision, adding, “If TEDinArabic tells inspiring stories about education and technology, then Qatar Foundation educates people while by engaging in pioneering technological projects. on the ground.”
Students sponsored by Qatar Museums who attended the event explained that Qatar is making great efforts to preserve the Arabic language from an academic, educational and research perspective. They said that TEDinArabic allowed them to discover the cultures and students of other sister countries, and that what unites them is the passion for the Arabic language and the means to advance it.
The event in Morocco is the third in a series of regional TEDinArabic events that precede the main event to be held in Doha, Qatar in March 2023, which will feature 16 male and female speakers from the Arabic-speaking world, who will be selected by the platform “Share your ideas with TEDinArabic”. Ideas can be submitted until October 31, 2022 at tedinarabic.ted.com/ideasearch/en/