A Nigerian scholar, Dr. Saheed Ahmad Rufai, has emerged winner of an international Arabic poetry competition held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
A multilingual expert, Dr. Rufai’s classical poetry was adjudged the best among seven finalists, in a competition which was organised under the aegis of the Islamic Development Bank — IsDB.
The IsDB organised the event as part of the activities to mark the World Arabic Language Day celebration. The United Nations had set aside December 18 every year as the World Arabic Language Day to create awareness for one of its official languages.
Presenting the prizes to the recipients, Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of the IsDB stated that, “The Arabic language is a language of 2 billion people around the world who are members of the Islamic Ummah.
“It is the official language of the IsDB, even though the bank also deals in English and French.”
The event featured a display of Arabic and Islamic calligraphy paintings, in addition to a panel discussion with emphasis on a scientific symposium on the reality and future of the Arabic language in education, international organisations and scientific academies.
The symposium also stressed the importance of using artificial intelligence in designing programs to promote and learn the Arabic language to boost its presence in the era of the fourth industrial revolution.
The competition was supervised by a committee of experts which was headed by Prof. Ahmad Masluh, a renowned scholar of Arabic Language and Prosody.
Aside Dr. Rufai who won the first prize, the other finalists that emerged from a rigorous selection process across multiple stages, were one Saudi, one Yemeni, one Egyptian, two Sudanese, and one Mauritanian. The Mauritanian and the Sudanese clinched the second and third positions respectively.
Dr. Rufai holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Lagos and a doctorate in Curriculum and Pedagogy from the International Islamic University, Malaysia (IIUM). His other post-graduate qualifications cover such diverse areas as Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising (PRAD), History, Television Production and Presentation, Teaching Arabic to Non-Native Speakers, and Information Processing and Computer Technology.
He was until recently the Dean of Education at the Sokoto State University and was for many years a TV presenter with special interest in international conflict resolution and education pedagogy.