The Arab League الجامعة العربية (formally, the League of Arab States) (جامعة الدول العربية) is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Southwest Asia. It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan (renamed Jordan in 1949), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Yemen joined as a member on 5 May 1945. Currently, the League has 22 members, although Syria's participation has been suspended since November 2011 as a consequence of government repression during the ongoing uprising and civil war.
The main aims of the League are to strengthen relations and to coordinate collaboration between member states, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty and to provide collective consideration of the affairs and interests of the member states. The ethos of the League of Arab States can be summarized in the maxim “One language, one civilisation: 22 Arab countries”.
The League of Arab States is an international body recognized by the United Nations where it holds “observer status”. This formal recognition extends to the global missions that represent the League abroad in a number of host countries. The League is an active supporter of the dialogue between cultures and the Alliance of Civilizations, which aims to improve understanding and cooperative relations among nations and peoples across cultures and religions.
The highest body of the League is the Council, which is composed of representatives of each state. Each member state has one vote, irrespective of size, and decisions are binding only on states that voted for them. The General Secretariat, the administrative and executive body of the League, runs the League on a daily basis. It is headed by a Secretary-General appointed by the Arab League Council every five years. The official language of the League and its member states is Arabic.
Through its associated institutions such as the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and the Economic and Social Council, the League facilitates programmes to promote politics, economy, culture and social affairs in the Arab world, serving as a coordinating forum for members to consider matters of common concern.
The League's main goal is to "draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries".
Through institutions such as the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) and the Economic and Social Council of the Arab League's Council of Arab Economic Unity (CAEU), the Arab League facilitates political, economic, cultural, scientific and social programs designed to promote the interests of the Arab world. It has served as a forum for the member states to coordinate their policy positions, to deliberate on matters of common concern, to settle some Arab disputes, and to limit conflicts such as the 1958 Lebanon crisis. The League has served as a platform for the drafting and conclusion of many landmark documents promoting economic integration. One example is the Joint Arab Economic Action Charter, which outlines the principles for economic activities in the region.
Each member state has only one vote in the League Council, while decisions are binding only for those states that have voted for them. The aims of the league in 1945 were to strengthen and coordinate the political, cultural, economic, and social programs of its members, and to mediate disputes among them or between them and third parties. Furthermore, the signing of an agreement on Joint Defense and Economic Cooperation on 13 April 1950 committed the signatories to coordination of military defense measures. In the early 1970s, the Economic Council of the League of Arab States put forward a proposal to create the Joint Arab Chambers of Commerce across the European states. This led, under the decree of the League of Arab States no. K1175/D52/G, to the decision by the Arab governments to set up the Arab British Chamber of Commerce which was mandated to: “promote, encourage and facilitate bilateral trade” between the Arab world and its major trading partner, the United Kingdom.
The Arab League has also played a role in shaping school curricula, advancing the role of women in the Arab societies, promoting child welfare, encouraging youth and sports programs, preserving Arab cultural heritage, and fostering cultural exchanges between the member states Literacy campaigns have been launched, intellectual works reproduced, and modern technical terminology is translated for the use within member states. The league encourages measures against crime and drug abuse, and deals with labour issues, particularly among the emigrant Arab workforce.
1) Saudi Arabia
2) United Arab Emirates