The Arab world today is a rich composite of many and diverse influences. Various ethnic, linguistic and religious groups inhabit the region. Yet, Islam and the Arabic language constitute its two predominant cultural features. The Arab people, spread over a vast area, enjoy common bonds of history and tradition. Members of twenty-two different countries, the Arabs consider themselves to be part of one nation.

The Arab people are further united through their membership and participation in the League of Arab States. One of the oldest regional organizations in the world, the Arab League was founded on March 22, 1945, even before the formal establishment of the United Nations. The primary objectives of the Arab League, as it is commonly called, are maximum integration among the Arab countries through coordination of their activities in the political sphere as well as in the fields of economics, social services, education, communications, development, technology and industrialization.

The headquarters of the Arab League is in Tunis, Tunisia, which also hosts some of the League's specialized agencies-some of which are based in other Arab capitals. The twenty-two member states of the League, in alphabetical order, are: Algeria, Bahrain, [Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen Arab Republic and Yemen Peoples Democratic Republic.

The Arab world in the twentieth century is a region in transition-developing, modernizing and building the foundation for its own renaissance. Its great and ancient cities-Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad-with populations well into the millions, are rapidly expanding their municipal services, communications and other facilities. New construction is evident everywhere as high-rise buildings replace the covered bazaars of former times.


  Those Arab countries with natural resources, especially petroleum, are devoting large funds to development programs in nearly every field while, at the same time, providing their less fortunate sister states with financial assistance to help them modernize. Scores of thousands of young Arabs are studying in old and new universities in their own countries or abroad, particularly in the United States where there are an estimated 60,000 Arab students. They are specializing in professions and disciplines which will enhance the progress of their homeland.

With all of this development and modernization, the Arab world is also determined to preserve its traditions and values, largely rooted in Islam. Its people are reaching out for progress but without the dislocation that so often accompanies rapid change

While the great urban centers of the Arab world are reaping the benefits of the space age, including satellite communications with other parts of the world, many retain the flavor of the past in architecture, arts and traditions.

In sum, the Arabs today are still drawing cultural sustenance from their great past, fueling their efforts to move on into the future.

This present collection is intended to offer the reader a glimpse of some of the major contributions made by the Arabs to world civilization. Its purpose is not merely to acknowledge a great cultural debt, but also to stimulate interest in a region and its people based on mutual respect and understanding.


Home Page == > Click on Arab Civilization :)