Saudi language enthusiasts and European diplomats come together to celebrate Europe’s rich linguistic diversity
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 19 October 2023 – The European Union Delegation to Saudi Arabia hosted the third edition of the European Night of Languages, a celebration of the continent’s linguistic and cultural richness. Held in partnership with EU Member State Embassies, European cultural institutes and local partners, the event brought together 250 Saudi language enthusiasts for an authentic European cultural experience.
The event served as a platform for members of the Saudi society to practice their language skills with European Ambassadors, the diplomatic community and professional language teachers. It also promoted language learning and highlighted the importance of languages in boosting multi-cultural understanding and promoting closer people to people relations. The get-together was hosted at the Sheraton Hotel in Riyadh on 18 October 2023.
Commenting on the event, the EU Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, H.E. Christophe Farnaud said: ‘’The European Union is delighted to see such a great level of interest in European languages among the Saudi society. As we build up our strategic partnership with the Kingdom, the EU remains committed to creating platforms that bring us closer as people. Furthermore, multilingualism not only allows greater understanding among our cultures, but it also opens up immense economic and business opportunities to accelerate bilateral relations across all areas.’’
Saudi guests exchanged in 16 languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, Greek, Dutch, Hungarian, Czech, Romanian, Finnish, Irish and Arabic. They also enjoyed a musical performance by a local Portuguese band Almanata and took part in an interactive quiz.
The European Night of Languages promotes multilingualism, which the European Union marks annually on 26 September. The EU with its 27 member states and 24 official languages values highly cultural and linguistic heritage with its nearly 450 million citizens reaping the socio-economic benefits that multilingualism has to offer, from global access to knowledge and education, to better job opportunities and from extensive social contacts to new business ventures.
In May 2022, the European Union introduced its Joint Communication on a Strategic Partnership with the Gulf, aiming to broaden and deepen the EU’s cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council and its Member States. The Communication presents concrete proposals to strengthen cooperation on energy, green transition and climate change, trade and economic diversification, regional stability and global security, humanitarian and development challenges, and closer people-to-people contacts.
About the European Union Delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman and the Kingdom of Bahrain opened in Riyadh in 2004. The EU Delegation is also accredited to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank. The EU Delegation works on many areas of cooperation between EU and Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain as well as the GCC, including political dialogue, economic and trade issues, regional security, education as well as climate change and transition to green energy/economy.