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ELAR joins launch of UN’s 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

The UN’s 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages has launched with a global event on 28 January. Mandana Seyfeddinipur attended the celebration, representing both ELAR and ELDP at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.

A Tsaatan (Dukha) boy stands with a reindeer in northern Mongolia.

The International Year of Indigenous Languages global launch event gathered a range of attendees, including indigenous peoples, government officials, academics, media organisations and documentation institutions. The celebration was also a chance to address safeguarding, promoting and providing access to knowledge and information for indigenous language users.

Mandana Seyfeddinipur discussed the role and contribution of academia and public organisation in preserving, accessing and supporting indigenous languages. Other sessions also focused on making technological innovations accessible for indigenous language speakers and promoting access to information in indigenous languages.

Speakers at the official ceremony also included Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Aili Keskitalo, President of the Sámi Parliament of Norway, and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO.

Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild represented Canada’s Assembly of First Nations at UNESCO’s IYIL2019 global launch event. Photo: Mandana Seyfeddinipur

Mandana added, “The launch at UNESCO was an impressive event for an important year for people under pressure all over the world.”

The International Year of Indigenous Languages hopes to raise awareness of indigenous languages and aims to promote and ensure access to indigenous languages by strengthening the capacities of indigenous language speakers and indigenous peoples’ organisations. IYIL will also bring global attention to the risks for indigenous languages and their significance for sustainable development, governance and peace-building.

To support the International Year of Indigenous Languages, ELAR, ELDP and SOAS World Language Institute will continue to raise awareness of issues relevant to indigenous languages and organise activities throughout 2019. Keep up to date with our plans on our blog, Facebook, Twitter and on the SWLI website.

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