RE: 2008 UN Year of Languages. 2008-02-28 International Mother Language Day

From: Don Osborn (
Date: Wed Feb 13 2008 - 23:36:18 CST

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    FYI, I've been compiling some links and info on a temporary web location at (including a pretty fair collection of links to the main UNESCO pages on the Year, which are sometimes hard to find). Although I really don't have time to take on another project, I do see the Year as providing a unique opportunity to, in effect, improve the environment for language-related work. UNESCO itself can't do it all (which they realize), and one of the immediate needs is better information / publicity.

    I also think that it would be ideal for the Year to produce not just some events and publicity, but also some structural outcomes to facilitate carrying forth the goals of the year and supporting various existing and new language-related efforts. This could mean a lot of things and I'm not sure how it will play out, but am in contact with various people about some initiatives. If anyone is interested, please let me know (I've started some things that I feel are important, but will not have time to keep running by myself).

    BTW, the UNESCO site has a page to submit project information - not for funding, just for information - and a list of those already submitted. Perhaps some character encoding projects or Decode Unicode could be listed there (even though their scope goes beyond the year itself).

    Don Osborn

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: [] On
    > Behalf Of Christopher Fynn
    > Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2008 9:43 PM
    > To:
    > Subject: FWD: 2008 UN Year of Languages. 2008-02-28 International
    > Mother Language Day
    > -------- Original Message --------
    > Subject: UN-Year of Languages
    > Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2008 06:07:22 -1000
    > From: Yuphaphann Hoonchamlong <>
    > To:,
    > From: Sjoerd Koopman <>
    > Date: Feb 4, 2008 8:27 PM
    > Subject: [IFLA-L] 2008 UNESCO Year of Languages
    > To: IFLA-L <>
    > Announcement - 2008 Year of Languages
    > The year 2008 has been proclaimed International Year of Languages by
    > the United Nations General Assembly. With the slogan "languages
    > matter!", UNESCO is aiming at extensive fulfilment in its role as
    > coordinator of activities for this Year. The conviction that language
    > diversity is essential to the human heritage - as each and every
    > language embodies the unique cultural wisdom of a people - is the
    > common working ground for all those who will respond to this call for
    > action.
    > Proposed areas for partnership and collaboration are multilingualism in
    > cyberspace, radio programmes in all languages, translating projects
    > especially from and into lesser known languages, languages and
    > migration, safeguarding endangered languages, those being only an
    > example of what a Year of Languages can mean for policy makers and
    > project organizers. Quoting Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director General of
    > UNESCO "The common goal is to ensure that the importance of linguistic
    > diversity and multilingualism in educational, administrative and legal
    > systems, cultural expressions and the media, cyberspace and trade, is
    > recognized on the national, regional and international levels".
    > UNESCO therefore invites governments, United Nations organizations,
    > civil society organizations, educational institutions, professional
    > associations and all other stakeholders to increase their own
    > activities to foster respect for, and the promotion and protection of
    > all languages, particularly endangered languages, in all individual and
    > collective contexts.
    > The formal launching of the Year of Languages will be on 21 February
    > 2008, the International Mother Language Day.
    > Extensive information is to be found on the official UNESCO website
    > <>

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