About the League of Arab States | History

The League of Arab States, also called the Arab League, is a voluntary association of Arab states.

It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan (later renamed Jordan), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Syria, with Yemen joining on 5 May 1945. It currently has 22 member states; Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordon, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

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 summarised in the maxim “One language, one civilisation: 22 Arab countries”.

The League of Arab States is an international body recognised 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 Civilisations, 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 has played an important role in structuring school curricula, launching literacy campaigns, translating modern technical terminology and preserving Arabic manuscripts. It has been instrumental in preserving Arab cultural heritage and fostering cultural exchanges between member states.

The League has supported measures against crime in Arab countries, such as drug trafficking. It has also worked on improving the social situation for women, alongside promoting the welfare of children and encouraging youth and sports programmes. It deals with labour issues – particularly among the emigrant Arab workforce through the Arab Expatriates Department – and has helped to create a regional telecommunications union.

Ministerial Councils

Council of Arab Ministries of Foreign Affairs
Council of Arab Ministries of Information
Council of Arab Ministries of Internal Affairs
Council of Arab Ministries of Justice
Council of Arab Ministries of Infrastructure
Council of Arab Ministries of Transportation
Council of Arab Ministries of Environment
Council of Arab Ministries of Communications
Council of Arab Ministries of Electricity
Council of Arab Ministries of Tourism
Council of Arab Ministries of Social Affairs
Council of Arab Ministries of Sports and Youth
Council of Arab Ministries of Health

Institutions of the Arab League

Council of the Arab League
Economic and Social Council of the Arab League
Joint Defence Council of the Arab League

Associated Institutions

Higher Arab Institute for Translation, Algiers
Arab Organisation for Tourism
Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport
Arab Centre for the Studies of Arid Zones and Drylands