Sometimes, it takes an outside view to remind us of the true worth of our history and culture.
As The National reported yesterday, a professor of Arabic Language at the University of Beijing, Prof Chung Jikon, has been recognised by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award as the cultural personality of the year.
The author of the History of Arabic Literature encyclopaedia received the award, and prize of Dh1 million, for promoting the Arabic language "by teaching, translating and researching our region's culture and literature", according to a statement issued by the award's organisers.
"It's an honour not just to me but to all Chinese Arabists and other colleagues, as the family of Chinese Arabists is a large one," Prof Chung said in Beijing. While this reveals the high regard with which Arabic is held in Asia, it also highlights an increasingly strengthened relationship between China and the UAE, not only in academics but also in politics and, most significantly, economics. These ties can only be strengthened by scholars like Prof Jikon.
It is hoped that the professor's example, and the UAE's recognition of the effort, will inspire and motivate people from around the world to continue discovering the rich heritage and culture of the Arab nation.