Perspectives on Linguistic Security in the Arab World: The Quest for Literacy, Stability and Dignity


Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


online webinar (registration link below)

The CMES Director's Series presents

Prof. Wafi Haj MajidWafi Majid
Chairman of Arabic & Literature Department, Global University, Beirut

Registration link:

Abstract: The concept of linguistic security is still fledgling in its field, especially in this era where many Arabic-speaking cultures are experiencing negative effects of cultural globalization. One of the most serious of these is a perception, as claimed usually by non-Arabic-speakers, that the Arabic language is itself a threat to international order, and an incubator for extremism. Great confusion exists in the minds of many intellectuals, policy makers, and media figures in the Western countries, on subjects related to Arab intellect and identity. Hence, the concept of linguistic security has taken on an important strategic dimension with regard to the Arabic language, and research in this area has moved to a level worthy of consideration and analysis.

In the midst of this cultural clash, a number of Arab intellectuals have begun to speak out about linguistic security in the Arabic cultural context, and to clarify its various aspects. In my presentation I will demonstrate three dimensions of Arabic linguistic security that can lead us into an overarching strategy for cultural protection, conservation and stabilization. The first dimension is the security of the Arabic language itself. The second dimension is linked to concepts of national security of Arab-speaking states and communities. The third and largest dimension extends into the realm of global international security.

As proposed solutions, two major courses of actions can be recommended: the first one is on the part of Arab leaders - political and cultural. The second one is for the various political and cultural leaders in the international community, particularly in Europe and the United States of America. In conclusion, I must emphasize the interrelationship between culture, politics and language. Therefore, the need for Arab linguistic security today is more urgent than ever, and it is a project to which everyone is required to contribute.

Download Prof. Majid's CV.

Contact: Liz Flanagan