The 5th edition of the International Festival of Arabic Language and Culture will begin on March 17 in Milan. The festival is organized by the Arabic Language Research Institute (CARA) and the Center for Language Services (SeLdA) of the Catholic University of Milan, as well as the Sharjah Book Authority.
The three-day festival includes several lectures on the “Historical Dictionary of the Arabic Language”.
Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, ruler of Sharjah, who is due to speak at the opening conference of the festival, announced the completion of the first volumes of this historical dictionary at the Sharjah Book Fair there. two years old. This is the first reference of its kind that dates Arabic terms and their different usages over the past 17 centuries.
Attempts to form this dictionary began in 1932 during the reign of King Farouk of Egypt, who issued a decree to establish the Arabic Language Complex in Cairo. However, the project was stopped due to the greatness of the Arab heritage, the high cost and the scale of the project (it covers the pre-Islamic era, the heritage and poetry of the age of ignorance, and the successive Islamic periods including the modern Islamic era), in addition to other contemporary obstacles, including the 1948 war, the scarcity of resources and the lack of will to pursue such a huge project.
The opening day will include speeches by Director of the Catholic University of Milan Franco Anelli, Dean of the Faculty of Linguistic Sciences and Foreign Literatures Giovanni Gobber and Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri.
The second day of the festival includes three conferences: “The historical dictionary: intersection of languages and cultures”, will be moderated by Dr. Isabella Camera d’Afflitto from La Sapienza University in Rome.
The participants are Dr. Giovanni Gobber from the Catholic University of Milan, the director of the Arabic language complex in Cairo Salah Fadl, Bernard Cerquiglini from the Agence universitaire de la francophonie (AUF) and Dr. Mohamed Safi Al Mosteghanemi, secretary general from the Arabic Language Academy (ALA) in Sharjah.
The second conference “The historical dictionary: models and programs” will be led by Dr. Maria Cristina Gatti, director of CARA at the Catholic University of Milan. The participants are Dr. Elton Prifti from the University of Munich and the Accademia della Crusca, Director of the International Arabic Language Institute of Al Khartoum Bakri Mohammed al-Haj, Maamoun al-Wajih from the University of Fayoum and scientific director of the Historical Dictionary of the Arabic Language, and Martino Diaz of the Department of Literature and Foreign Languages of the Catholic University of Milan.
The third conference “The origins of words and terminological studies” will be moderated by Dr. Maria Teresa Zanola, director of the European Language Council (CEL/ELC) and professor in the Department of Literature and Foreign Languages at the Catholic University of Milan. The participants are Manuel Célio Conceição (University of the Algarve), Abdul Fatah al-Hamjari from Hassan II University in Casablanca and the director of the Mauritanian Arabic Language Council, Dr. Khalil Al-Nahawi.
The third day will include a fourth lecture entitled “Literature and History of Language” which will be moderated by Dr. Wael Farouq from the Department of Literature and Foreign Languages of the Catholic University. The participants are Sobhi Hadidi, literary critic and translator (Syria/France); historian, writer and journalist Dr. Fawwaz Traboulsi of the American University of Beirut (AUB); Dr. Saad al-Bazei, Professor of Comparative Literature at King Saud University; and Dr. Paolo D’Achille of Roma Tre University and Accademia della Crusca.
A fifth conference entitled “Dictionary of existence between language and poetry” will be led by Dr. Francesca Corao from LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome. The participants are Abdullah Thabet, Saudi writer and poet; Ahmed Abdul Hussein, Iraqi poet and journalist; Rami Younes, Syrian poet and translator; and Kased Mohammed, Iraqi poet and translator.
The festival will also host an Arabic Book Fair in collaboration with Dar Al Mutawassit – Milan, an exhibition of Arabic calligraphy and a screening of the film Hepta by director Hadi al-Bagouri with Italian subtitles.