The Arabic language has contributed a great deal to humanity's development, both culturally and in terms of education.
For a long time, the rich traditions of Arabic culture have brought fresh ideas to the West, especially in the realms of mathematics, astronomy, the physical sciences, as well as literature, and Western culture has benefited greatly from these profound intellectual contributions from the diverse countries that together form the Arab world.
But do you really understand why it's so important, in business terms, to learn Arabic?
Are you wondering why it's worth mastering this language now, in the 21st century?
The Arab world, with one unifying language and dozens of dialects, benefits from a strategic position that is unparalleled across the globe.
The Arabic language, in this unique situation, serves as a link across 3 continents: Asia, Europe, and Africa.
So what are the advantages and benefits of learning Arabic today?
- Most of the Arab world's nations are members of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), a gigantic economic project that strives to strengthen relationships between the countries of the Mediterranean.
- The Arab world holds a dominate position in the world of gas and oil production and exportation, with the Middle East accounting for 45.8% of all global crude oil exports.
- Speaking Arabic is now a valuable and incomparable asset on your resume, especially if you want to work in international trade or diplomacy.
- Lastly, links between the United States and the Middle East are very strong, with a significant shared history and increasing interactions, both commercially and culturally.
Shall we go on? Let's see...
Let's look at some other reasons that studying the Arabic language is truly becoming very important in the international economic sector.
The Arab World: A Strategic Position
The problems of the Arab world are also those of Africa and the West.
When something happens, there are necessarily repercussions in other areas, due partly to geographic proximity, but also due to economic and financial interests that connect these places.
Although the United States has in recent years, after the embargoes of the 1970s, found other sources for oil outside of the Middle East, we still get about 15% of our oil from the Persian Gulf, and across the globe, Middle Eastern oil accounts for almost 70% of the total reserves. So the countries of the Arab world are still major players internationally, and they hold a lot of influence over those markets and everything dependent on the precious crude material.
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International trade agreements have opened the borders into Arab countries as well, with many sectors reporting significant annual increases in exports to Middle Eastern countries over the last two decades. Beyond that, with the establishment of the financial hub in the United Arab Emirates and the region in general, there are more and more business opportunities on the ground. Restaurants, retail, and construction of new homes and businesses have all been booming for a while now, with no end in sight.
Learning the Arabic language, in these conditions, enables you to boost your understanding of the people who live there, and gives you a net advantage over other candidates looking for jobs in the worlds of tourism, business, energy, and even in the diplomatic sector.
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The central role that the Arab world has in the international economy makes it a major actor in commercial trade.
Culturally, there are constantly new projects between the West and the Arab World, such as the Art Dubai international art fair, or the Sharjah International Book Fair in the U.A.E. There's now a Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, as well, and the Louvre has also forged connections.
By taking an Arabic for beginners class, whether it is at an institute, through online lessons offered by educational websites with trained professional teachers, or even free Arabic lessons or distance learning classes, as well as private lessons with a native speaker, with any Arabic course you'll learn more and more about these country-specific situations as they continue to change.
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM)
Launched in 2008, and still perhaps unknown to a lot of Americans who don't work in international development or trade, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) works to promote economic cooperation and democratic reforms in 16 neighboring countries south of the European Union, in the North Africa and Middle East regions.
The UfM is made up of 28 member states from Europe and 15 Arab countries: Algeria, Lybia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Monaco, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, Turkey, and Syria, whose membership was suspended for obvious political reasons. With a number of these countries having Arabic as an official language, any Arabic speaking person would be a huge asset to the UfM.
The UfM also established a way to launch regional projects that will have positive impacts on the countries involved, including in the fields of finance, natural resources, the environment, health, culture, and immigration.
Some of the proposed initiatives include:
- Cleaning up the Mediterranean Sea and marine habitats.
- Establishing sea and land trade routes to more efficiently trade between main ports.
- A collective civil defense program.
- Solar energy plants.
- A Euro-Mediterranean university.
These are just some examples, but they should illustrate the enormous economic potential of the UfM.
By taking arabic classes london or elsewhere, you'll have the opportunity to participate in some of these projects since you'll better understand the relationships between the Arab world and the West. The UfM wants to become a strong organization that acts together to combine resources and know-how to work towards a common goal.
And if you want to be a part of it, take the initiative to learn Arabic, right now.
The Controllers of the Energy Reserves
It's no secret that the Arab world holds a very strategically powerful position in world, especially over the regions immediately surrounding the Middle East and North Africa.
A significant portion of the world's oil and gas reserves are concentrated beneath the Arabian peninsula. About 30% of the world's oil production is done in the Arab world, while it's estimated that they control the rights to 65% of known reserves. And over 80% of the refined products are exported from these countries to the rest of the world's industrialized societies, making this is an area of the world which must be taken very seriously.
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It's easy to understand why speaking Arabic, reading Arabic, and writing Arabic can prove to be a considerable advantage when negotiating business deals in these countries, with these producers and exporters of energy.
The largest countries in the Arab world are all members of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Producing Exporting Countries) and some of them are individually responsible for producing incredible quantities of oil and gas.
To give you some perspective, consider the following:
- Saudi Arabia exports 3 billion barrels of oil each year.
- Kuwait claims to have 90 billion barrels in reserve, while the United Arab Emirates claims to have 92 billion.
- Iran is responsible for producing 9% of the world's oil, with 1.5 billion barrels per year.
- Iraq sits on 112 billion barrels in reserve, while their production is currently only at a half billion barrels per year.
These numbers very easily show that the Arab world is a very important place when it comes to energy resources, especially with the production and exportation of oil.
Like any language, Arabic is a complex web of adjectives, verbs, nouns and grammar, but through learning basic Arabic you will pick up enough phrases and Arabic words to have a conversational level which will allow you to work in these petro-businesses and participate in their growing economies.
And a more intensive study of Arabic conjugation, reading, and writing will only enhance your proficiency to communicate with native speakers.
The Arabic Language: An Advantage for Trade and Tourism
This might seem obvious, but we'll point it out nonetheless: Arabic language learning will open lots of doors for you, especially if you want to work in the areas of trade or tourism, due to how difficult it is to learn. Mastering the Arabic alphabet or Arabic pronunciation is no mean feat. But the understanding you will gain of Arab culture will stand you in good stead to succeed in sectors such as these.
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And with recent geo-political events, speaking Arabic allows you to better understand the complex issues of the world today.
In the field of tourism, Arab countries are among the luxury vacation destinations, particularly the renowned places like Tunisia, Qatar, and the U.A.E. It's also worth noting that more and more these days, countries like Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and other countries on the Mediterranean coast are profiting from an increasing interest from vacationers who want an exotic getaway.
Even if different Arabic dialects are more often spoken in these regions (and it's worth pointing out that the Moroccan dialect doesn't really correspond to what's spoken in Lebanon, for example), it's recommended that beginners learn Literary Arabic (also known as Modern Standard Arabic) because it's easier to learn and a necessary first step to learning any of the other dialects. At the end of the day, Palestinian Arabic is very different from Egyptian Arabic, which in turn is different from Moroccan Arabic.
You can even become an Arabic-English translator to work in such fascinating fields as journalism, tourism, economics, or diplomacy.
Learning the Arabic language can have several positive economic influences in the sense that you will better understand the political context and be able to work in the Arab world.
While you learn Arabic vocabulary, you'll discover a huge amount about the countries, the traditions, the customs and the role of Islam and the Quran throughout the Muslim world. As you do business in different Arabic speaking countries, all of these things will be invaluable to your continued understanding of the many distinct Arab nations.
So why not learn Arabic? There are wide ranging benefits of learning Arabic and you'll develop a new skill and put it to work in an exciting field like economics, tourism, or translation.
Isn't that tempting?
Find out more about the educational benefits of learning Arabic.