Sheikh Mohammed has written an open letter to the Arabic-speaking world about the importance of language and innovation…

“Our ancestors built one of the most prominent civilizations in history: our youth are more than capable of restoring and advancing our cultural eminence.”

These are the words H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, shared with the region this week via a letter in the inaugural Arabic-language issue of Popular Science magazine.

“We live in a time of rapid changes, monumental achievements, and profound knowledge and discoveries,” Sheikh Mohammed explained in the piece in Popular Science Arabia. “It is imperative that we evolve, adapt, and learn at the same pace as our world is transforming.”

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“My message to the people of this region,” he added, “is not to wait but to seize initiative. Waiting can come with a hefty price tag of wasted time and missed opportunities.”

“The time is ripe for scientific discoveries,” he implored. “Seize the day and aspire to create new opportunities for knowledge and invention.”

Sheikh Mohammed also pointed out that a world-leading education should be easy to obtain in Arabic: “Above all, we must learn in our own language and within our own culture.”

“Our Arabic language has always been one of learning and science; it will not fail to absorb and adapt to the sciences and discoveries of our day. It can go even further to create superior technical terms that better represent modern inventions and developments.”

This letter isn’t the first time Sheikh Mohammed has spoken about the need for the Arab world to move forward…

At this year’s World Government Summit he talked about how a lack of organisation, rather than resources, was one of the region’s greatest impediments:

“The Arab world has educated people, natural resources, financial resources, rivers, mountains, hills, fertile land. We have everything and will continue to have this. But the will is missing. And so is the efficient management of these resources,” he said at the World Government Summit this year. “Even in sports management we have failed.For instance, the population of the Arab world is 300 million. The USA’s is also 300 million. But compare the number of Olympic medals the US won with that won by Arab countries. This is a failure and we need to fix it.”

And in an open letter to Paolo Coelho published last October, Sheikh Mohammed pointed out the importance of more books being translated to-and-from and printed in Arabic…

“At that time, we were pioneers, leaders, open to all cultures. We became a beacon for humanity, and paved the way for the European Renaissance. Did you know, Paulo, that in the 9th century, our region had over 100 publishing houses on the outskirts of Baghdad alone?Those publishing houses published thousands of books. They were also home to more than just publishers; they were cultural hubs where scientists, researchers, intellectuals and translators from myriad religions, civilisations and walks of life gathered to share ideas and debate. We also had a ‘House of Wisdom’, which housed over a million books, and where hundreds of writers and thinkers lived. When its life was centred around books, Baghdad was, my friend, a beacon in the worlds of astronomy, medicine, mathematics and philosophy. Where is Baghdad today?”

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Image: Getty