Arabic is the language of a rich culture and civilization dating back many centuries; it has been a language of philosophy, of poetry, of science, religion, and daily life. Arabic script has been an Islamic art form in its own right. Arabic is an official language in 25 countries and is spoken as a native language by over 300 million people around the world. The United Nations adopted Arabic as one of its six official languages in 1974.
The study of Arabic gives insights into the cultural, religious, and political forces of the Arab world and the broader Middle East, as well as Muslim communities around the world. The Middle East is the birthplace of three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and contains some of the world's greatest archaeological and religious sites. It is also a region of great political, economic, and strategic importance. A good knowledge of Arabic will greatly enhance your understanding of the region as well as your ability to work and interact effectively with Arabic-speaking people.