Promoting Arab Culture Online

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 | 2:01 PM

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The Qatar Foundation recently welcomed more than 400 guests to its shining new auditorium in Doha to celebrate their joint love of all things Arabic. They came to hear about the growing number of locally produced Arabic videos on YouTube - particularly the film Super.Full by Lebanese film-maker and YouTube “Your Film Festival” finalist Naim Itani



The Doha event was just one highlight of Google’s Arabic Web Days, promoting Arabic content online. Today, just three percent of content on the web is in Arabic, even though more than five percent of the world’s web users speak it as their mother tongue. Arabic Web Days showed a deep hunger for more local content. More than half million users showed interest for the campaign, viewing the Arabic Web Days website and YouTube channel.

Arabic Web Day events took place in countries across the Middle East, involving a wide range of companies and organisations. In Abu Dhabi, we partnered with TED and announced a global initiative to enable volunteers to add Arabic subtitles to TED videos. In Jordan, more than 400 developers received training on with Google Translate and a Wikipedia training session encouraged 510 attendees to create articles in Arabic. In Dubai, we ran a training session on online Arabic language tools for journalists at the Dubai Press Club.

Politicians joined in too. In Egypt, the Ministry of Education announced an initiative to create online portals for Arabic educational content. Tunisia's Prime Minister participated in an online discussion with bloggers to talk about Arabic content online. The Telecommunications Regulation Authority in the United Arab Emirates celebrated an official “Arabic Web Day” with workshops on how to help grow the Arabic web.

For a full look, search for “Arabic Web Days” on Google+ (in Arabic, of course!).

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