Cyprus Mail

‘Cyprus can act as a bridge between Europe and the Middle East’

A recent cabinet decision for the promotion of the Arabic language and culture in Cyprus will serve to transform the island into a bridge of communication between Europe and the Middle East, House president Demetris Syllouris said on Tuesday.

Economic benefits are an important aspect of this initiative, Syllouris added, as “the Arab world offers ample opportunities and access to these is easier for those who know the Arab language.”

The provision of Arabic language courses at state institutes of further education will also boost efforts toward the goal of setting up a Mediterranean Cooperation Centre in Cyprus, Syllouris said.

“We should also highlight the social dimension of this initiative,” Syllouris noted, “as many children and adults of Arabic descent living in Cyprus do not know their own language.”

The decision to offer Arabic language courses at state institutes was taken by the cabinet on August 22. The interior ministry’s press and information office had said after the cabinet meeting that the move came as a result of a growing number of Arab-speaking students and of adult migrants that are moving to the island.

Thoughts on how to go about promoting Arabic language and culture were exchanged with ambassadors of Arab nations in a meeting in January, Syllouris said.

Further moves were discussed with university rectors, Syllouris added, who agreed to move forward with the creation of an Arabic language and culture track.

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