Coinciding with United Nations Arabic Language Day (18 December), Qatar Foundation International (QFI) has launched its I Speak Arabic campaign. I Speak Arabic uses crowdsourced storytelling to showcase the benefits of studying Arabic and to humanize the language and culture, and provides access to resources for doing so.

The campaign advances QFI’s dedication to connect cultures and advance global citizenship through a community of learners, educators, parents and school administrators who partner with us to learn more about the Arabic language and Arab culture.

In addition to presenting personal narratives, I Speak Arabic uses data and facts to demonstrate how studying Arabic drives personal development, human connections, cultural literacy, and professional success. QFI has also developed an Arabic advocacy kit, detailed information on how to start and develop an Arabic program in a school or community, available for download on the I Speak Arabic platform.

At a soft launch last month at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) annual conference, QFI launched the trailer for the campaign in addition to new and updated online tools for students, teachers, schools, and parents on the I Speak Arabic website.

Maggie Mitchell Salem, Executive Director, QFI said:

We are pleased to launch this campaign on UN Arabic Language Day, a celebration of multilingualism and cultural diversity. The demand for foreign language skills, and the benefits of possessing them, has grown rapidly over the past decade. Arabic is no exception. We hope this initiative will increase awareness of Americans studying Arabic and learning about Arab culture, while also encouraging many more to do the same.’

Key components of the I Speak Arabic campaign include:

  • Profile videos of non-native Arabic speakers
  • Resource website for students, teachers, parents, and schools
  • Arabic Advocacy Toolkit
  • Upcoming student contests and social media crowd-sourcing campaign, #ISpeakArabic

The documentary-style video campaign features real-life, non-native Arabic speakers from across the globe, speaking about their experiences and daily lives, focusing on how learning Arabic has impacted their careers and long term lives. The narrative of individual journeys and stories guides the campaign, and inspires interested individuals to discover the value of learning

The full stories premiered on ispeakarabic.com during World Arabic Day along with the launch of a #ISpeakArabic online contest for non-native speakers. Students from QFI’s Arabic school network across the Americas, such as Cholla High School in Arizona, Washington Latin PCS in Washington DC, James Campbell High School in Hawaii, and the newly partnered Institute of Innovation in Second Education (IISLE) in Edmonton, Alberta, participated online by uploading videos of their own stories and experiences with Arabic.

The website brings all the components of the campaign together, featuring the videos as core content, and leading to additional resources to learn Arabic or initiate or build upon Arabic school programs. The website will be a premium resource of the Arabic education community for new teaching techniques and resources.