Over hundred years, the Arab Academy of Damascus or in Arabic “al-Majma al-Ilmi al-Arabi” has played a significant role in preserving the Arabic language through a number of elite Syrian journalists and linguists who have exerted tireless efforts for Arabizing and upgrading the educational institutions in Syria and the Arab countries.
The Academy embraces twenty linguists specialized in Arabic who are divided into a number of committees for manuscripts, heritage revival, idioms and contemporary Arab dialects.
Head of the Academy Dr. Marwan al-Mahasini, who has been in office since 2008, told SANA that the Academy is today celebrating the centennial anniversary of its inception through recalling the efforts which have been exerted by its scholars and members to preserve the Arabic language and to contribute to spreading Arab sciences and the concept of the Arab Islamic culture.
The Academy was established on June 8th 1919, al-Mahasini added, talking about the efforts exerted by the late scholar Mohammad Kurd Ali and his colleagues to establish the Academy and to maintain the Arab identity in the Syrian state through finding suitable Arabic substitutes for all the foreign linguistic idioms.
“The Academy was established in difficult circumstances as linguists found that the Turkish language imposed on the country mustn’t take the place of the Arabic language, therefore, they worked on establishing the Academy under the Arabic name of (al-Majma al-Ilmi al-Arabi) to stand in the face of that invasion,” al-Mahasini said.
Dr. al-Mahasini indicated that one of the most important goals of the Academy is to protect the Arabic language and to make it in line with the requirements of literature, sciences and arts and suitable for the needs of modern life, in addition to putting the scientific, technical, literary and cultural idioms and studying them according to a certain approach and seeking to unify them in all the Arab states.
The Academy also plays a key role in discussing issues related to the Arabic language and publishing dictionaries and linguistic periodicals.
The Academy “al-Majma” is the oldest of its kind in the Arab world which means that it has laid the bases according to which it has worked over long years to make the Arabic language a top priority for the Arab states.
Al-Majma has published many important dictionaries in physics, chemistry, math, sciences, plants and others which give an accurate meaning for every foreign term, in addition to publishing tens of books in different domains and a magazine named after it that includes articles and scientific and linguistic studies.
Al-Majma also works on preserving the ancient manuscripts and dealing with the modern technologies as it keeps up with the international scientific developments.