President of Arab World Institute in Paris to QNA: Qatar Has Pivotal Role in Teaching Arabic Language in France
Paris, April 03 (QNA) – President of the Arab World Institute in Paris Jack Lang said that the State of Qatar has played a pivotal role in teaching the Arabic language in France.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), the President of the Arab World Institute in Paris, who served as Minister of Culture and Minister of Education in the government of former President Francois Mitterrand, said that the Institute seeks to deepen and develop cooperation relations with the State of Qatar on every occasion, through activities, shows and exhibitions that highlight the rich cultural heritage of Doha and celebrate Qatari creators in all fields.
In this context, he noted that the last cooperation between the Institute and Qatar was signing an agreement to encourage the teaching of the Arabic language and its dissemination in France about a year ago.
Lang praised the role carried out by the State of Qatar and its pivotal contribution to supporting culture and encouraging learning the Arabic language at the Institute and in France, through the Qatari embassy in Paris.
He noted that Qatar had a strong presence at the Gulf Film Festival, and in several plastic and art exhibitions, adding that the special collection of plastic art in the Arab World Institute museum includes a distinguished selection of the Qatari artist Youssef Ahmed’s works.
He added that the Institute organized, in cooperation with the Doha Film Institute at the end of 2021, a special night showing a group of Qatari short films in the presence of most of their directors.
Lang indicated that Qatari sports had a special presence in the huge exhibition held by the Arab World Institute on sports and football in the Arab world, which displayed designs of the Qatari stadium that hosted the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
He noted that the Institute organized, in cooperation with the Qatari diplomatic bodies in France, the Year of Qatar at the Institute and in France, to highlight the Qatari history, heritage and culture. This partnership and events witnessed great success and turnout from the public eager to discover the hidden aspects of the distinctive culture of the Arab Gulf state, Lang said, expressing the Institute’s welcome for cooperation agreements and proposals by Qataris to highlight their heritage and culture within the activities of the Arab World Institute in Paris.
The president of the Arab World Institute hailed Qatar’s great role and its effective contribution to the establishment of the Museum of Contemporary Islamic Art at the Arab World Institute in Paris, through the prominent role carried out by HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Qatar Museums, in supporting the museum by all means.
Lang expressed fascination at what he described as an “urban revolution” in the infrastructure in Qatar. He pointed to the impressive success achieved by Doha in organizing the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, stressing that this success was on all sports, engineering, media and culture levels.
Jack Lang was appointed President of the Arab World Institute in Paris by French President Francois Hollande in 2013. Over the term of his presidency, the Institute has witnessed a quantum leap and a great movement, and has overcome its financial crisis.
Regarding the Institute’s future policy and the most important activities, Lang pointed to many major projects, activities and events, including the major exhibition that the Institute will organize in May under the title “What Palestine Offers to the World” which will celebrate Palestine, its culture, history and cause.
He underlined that the symbolic title of the exhibition carries a special message from the organizing authority to uphold the Palestinian culture, heritage and creativity in all its colors and characteristics, and will blend the historical side with the contemporary artistic side.
Lang also noted that the Institute will also shed light on Gaza and what it suffers from siege and marginalization, and will ensure the attendance of artistic and cultural figures from Gaza.
He revealed that he will visit Gaza Strip and the West Bank soon to put the final touches to this great event and give the Palestinian cause the status it deserves.
President of the Arab World Institute in Paris Jack Lang said that this great event will be under the supervision of the well-known Palestinian intellectual and figure Elias Sanbar, indicating that the Institute is almost the only institution in the world that allocates such support, attention and celebration of the Palestinian cause and Palestinian culture and creativity.
He warned of the current dangerous and delicate situation that the Palestinian cause is experiencing and indicated that it is marginalized, forgotten and excluded in the world today.
Jack Lang stressed that the Institute is keen to give the Palestinian cause the importance it deserves, so that the voice of the Palestinian people and the free creative voices of the whole world can be heard.
He noted that the Arab World Institute in Paris hosts the Museum of Contemporary Art for Palestinian Creativity in Exile. It includes important and wonderful Palestinian artworks that introduce French and European visitors to the depth of Palestinian culture and creativity in exile and diaspora.
He also pointed out that the institute is heading, with the school entry next fall, to organize another remarkable event that celebrates contemporary Arab plastic art from all schools and trends, and all Arab countries will be represented by their culture, heritage and customs.
Jack Lang is among the French intellectuals who defend the Arabic language and the need for its presence in the school and cultural milieu. In this context, he published in 2020 the book “The Arabic Language.. a Treasure of France”, in which he sheds light on the depth of the Arabic language, its history and its distinguished position, past and present. Despite the value of this book, and the value of the voices defending the Arabic language, this language still has not gained its fortune, and this treasure is still hidden, marginalized and forgotten in France, in the opinion of some.
In this context, the former academic and law professor explained that France is historically linked to the Arab world, whether in the positive, cultural, civilized sense or in the negative, colonial (colonial) sense, pointing out that the Arabic language is one of the important cultural links between Paris and the Arabs, stressing at the same time, However, when he was a minister, he encouraged the teaching of the Arabic language in French schools, despite all the obstacles he encountered.
He explained that he noticed, during his assumption of his ministerial duties, that the problem in France does not lie only in the Arabic language, but rather in the rest of the foreign languages, such as German, Italian and Spanish, which also remained marginalized, indicating that the Arabic language today is taught in many French institutes and schools, but there is a problem of continuity that it suffers from, which repels some pupils and students from learning it, despite their attachment to it, pointing out that the French state has signed cooperation agreements in recent years with Maghreb countries to recruit qualified Arabic language teachers, within the framework of encouraging the intensification of continuity in learning this beautiful language.
President of the Arab World Institute in Paris Jack Lang said that since assuming the presidency of the Institute, he has been keen to take care of the Arabic language, noting that he has developed Arabic Language certification that is taught at the Institute, and this certificate is recognized by France, Europe and internationally.
He said that what gives cause for optimism is the great interest in recent years to learn, study and delve into Arabic in French universities and higher institutes, indicating that the certification created by the institute will encourage this enthusiasm for learning Arabic.
Lang also appreciated the pivotal and major role played by the State of Qatar, through the agreement signed by the Institute with it, in encouraging the learning of Arabic at the Institute and in France.
In his interview with QNA, President of Arab World Institute stressed the great integration of the French people of Arab and Islamic origins, from various generations, into the French society and its institutions, pointing out that they contribute fundamentally to the building, renaissance and progress of his country.
That does not preclude the existence of a racist minority in the French society, just like all societies, that tries to tarnish the image of immigrants, Arabs and Muslims, under the influence of the hate speech disseminated by the far-right party led by Marine Le Pen, he said, stressing that this racist discourse is very dangerous to society and must be resisted and fought. At the same time, he noted that that the majority of French people are reconciled with the values of tolerance, solidarity and acceptance of the other, and they encourage the integration of immigrants into the French society.
He underlined that the Arab World Institute in Paris is a forum for embracing the Arab-Islamic culture in France and Europe, and represents a civilized and cultural bridge that encourages dialogue, cooperation, communication, discovery and solidarity between the West and the East. He also praised the effective contribution of Arabs and Muslims to the development of science, philosophy, translation, literature and human culture during the period of prosperity of the Arab-Islamic civilization.
He said that the Institute holds monthly and periodic meetings to honor Arab and Muslim philosophers, authors, and thinkers, and to introduce their books and their enlightening intellectual productions, emphasizing the positive and important role that literature, translation, creativity, and culture can play today, despite all the contradictions that surround them, and their effective contribution in the dialogue between cultures, peoples, civilizations, East, West, North and South.
President of the Arab World Institute in Paris said that he is concerned about the rise of the extreme right in France and Europe, calling for the need to combat the “racist mentality” pursued by a minority in the society and not give it an opportunity so it doesn’t affect the rest of society. He stressed at the same time that the presence of immigrants, foreigners, and different cultures in European societies is luck, wealth, and added value to these societies and not vice versa..
He added that the wave of the far right will soon disappear from France and Europe, because European peoples are tolerant by nature and accept others easily.
Established in 1980 during the reign of the late French President Francois Mitterrand, the Arab World Institute in Paris is a French institution concerned with cultural affairs. Within its continuous activities throughout the year, it receives authors, thinkers and artists from all over the Arab and European world to present their ideas and creativity.
Designed by Jean Nouvel, the institute is a unique architectural masterpiece located on the banks of the Seine. It is the most important institution of Arab-Islamic culture in France and Europe.
This cultural landmark, which has a budget of 30 million euros with 150 employees, seeks to develop the study of the Arab world in France, deepen understanding of its civilization and culture, encourage cultural exchange and stimulate communication and cooperation between France and the Arab world. Arabic in France.
The Institute’s president is appointed based on a proposal from the French president, and in consultation with the representatives of the Arab countries in France. (QNA)