20th Jul

An ambitious initiative of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) launched in 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Kalima was created to address a thousand year old problem - the translation drought in the Arab world which has resulted in few great pieces of foreign writing being translated into Arabic. Currently in most Arabic countries, 'quality works' of world literature or academia are only available in their original language, restricting access to these books to a select group of society.

However, during Europe's ‘Dark Ages’ and until the end of the first millennium, knowledge flourished thanks to the many translations of important works into Arabic. 

Kalima wants to revive this Golden Age of translation and to reunite the Arab world's fragmented book industry. This will be done by bringing together publishers, literary agents, authors, translators and distributors to increase the number and choice of books available to Arabic readers.

Kalima continually seeks to establish a strong relationship based on trust and understanding with international authors and publishing houses.

The project is ably led by a team that includes the Acting Director of the National Library Department, Director of the National Library Programme Management Department and Director of the Kalima project along with a Judgement Committee.

In addition, the Science committee consists of ten members of translation specialists and experts, taking into account multidisciplinary and multilingual aspects


Translating the most important books in the world and in all fields of knowledge, with the target of 100 titles a year. Establishing a database for Arab translators and providing them with institutional support, with the aim of developing, maintaining and increasing human capital and investing in the stand-alone translation profession. Supporting and developing the book translation industry in the Arab world and promoting it internationally as well as acting as the catalyst for unifying the scattered efforts made in this industry. Respecting intellectual property rights through the conclusion of publishing agreements with foreign publishers, in accordance with international publishing standards. Encouraging the reading of Arabic materials and promoting scientific research in the Arab world by providing translations of the latest international publications in various fields, in support of the idea of establishing a world-class community library network in Abu Dhabi that would contribute to making it the most attractive destination to visitors. Supporting the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi's active cultural movement to contribute to its role in the regional and international cultural landscape. Develop and strengthen effective relationships with international partners to achieve better cultural acquaintance by establishing bridges of communication between Arabic culture and other cultures.