Building knowledge economies and societies is a professed objective in the Arab region. Most of the development plans in the Arab states clearly call for action to produce, transfer, localise and harness knowledge in various fields, in service of the sustainable human development goals. The Arabic language has an important role to play in this key development process, as the production, assimilation and dissemination of knowledge is more effective and more widely spread when the mother tongue is used. Hereupon, a fundamental question must be addressed: To what extent does the Arabic language today constitute a true gateway to knowledge in the Arab region?
This report, prepared by a group of distinguished Arab experts, under supervision and coordination of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States, seeks to research this central question by reviewing and evaluating the state of knowledge in the Arab region on the one hand, and analysing the role of the Arabic language in the processes of establishing knowledge societies and economies in the Arab region on the other. The general section of the report addresses the question of knowledge and language at the Arab regional level. It also features field research conducted in three Arab states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco), that examines the state of knowledge and the Arabic language in those states, and to a certain extent, reflects the situation in the Arab sub-regions to which they belong.