Civic Nationalism and Language-in-Education Policies in the United Arab Emirates

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Fatima Esseili

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching in the Neo-Nationalist Era

Publication Date



A founding principle of the United Arab Emirates is the belief that tolerance promotes peace, while isolation encourages division and conflict. With more than 200 nationalities residing in the UAE, Emiratis constitute only 10% of the population, making them a minority in their own country. Despite the government promoting diversity and tolerance as the norm, such demographic imbalance come with a cost to the Arabic language, the national identity and culture, and the education system. This chapter addresses those concerns through a series of recent government initiatives. The author classifies neo-nationalist movements into different types, arguing that the one in the UAE largely fits within the civic type with its non-hostile, overall welcoming attitude toward foreigners. At the end of the chapter, she discusses the impact of neo-nationalism on education and calls for clearer policies that take into account language(s) as a right and as a resource.


Springer Nature


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access