Newsletter for September 2017

Number 30, September 2017

UNESCO Courier now in Esperanto

19 July 2017. The newly re-launched UNESCO Courier will in future appear not only in the six official languages of UNESCO but also in the international language Esperanto, thanks to a Chinese initiative and the help of Esperantists across the world.

UNESCO Courier is the official journal of the UN Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO). First published in 1946 to communicate the ideas of UNESCO and promote intercultural dialogue, the journal once played a leading role in disseminating UNESCO’s work in the fields for which it was responsible. In 2012 lack of financial resources forced the journal to cease publication.

In May 2017, following revival of the 76-page, full-colour journal, the Universal Esperanto Association (UEA) launched a project for experimental publication of an Esperanto edition, at the initiative of UEA board member Trezoro Huang Yinbao, director of the Golden Bridge Esperanto Centre, China. With the collaboration of 36 translators and editors from 23 countries, plus financial support from the Golden Bridge Center, the first issue of the Esperanto Courier has now appeared, under the name Unesko-Kuriero.

Some years ago, numerous Esperantists called on UNESCO to publish its journal in Esperanto. The UNESCO staff, bombarded by messages from Esperanto speakers, replied that, if UEA or someone else was willing to finance publication in its entirety, UNESCO was ready to give permission for an Esperanto edition (Eventoj, 182, March 2000). This pledge has now come to fruition.

The paper edition (ISSN 2521-7356) can be purchased from UEA. The web edition (ISSN 2521-7364) can be downloaded free at:

UEA names two new members to its Honorary Committee of Patronage

30 July 2017. UEA’s Honorary Committee of Patronage recently received two new members: Harald Helfgott and Giorgio Novello. The group consists of linguists, scientists and other distinguished figures who have performed important services for the Esperanto movement and speak and publish in the International Language.

Harald Helfgott (born 1977 in Lima, Peru), a world renowned mathematician, is Humboldt Professor at the University of Göttingen, German. Following study in the USA at Brandeis and Princeton Universities, with a Ph.D. from Princeton in 2003, his original research took him to Yale University (USA), Université de Montréal (Canada) and Bristol University (UK), then to a permanent position as senior researcher at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS, France). Dr. Helfgott is a specialist in number theory, but his research includes several other branches of pure mathematics, including group theory and combinatorial analysis. Early in his career he achieved wide recognition in his field, winning the Leverhulme Prize in 2008 and the Whitehead Prize in 2010, awarded to particularly promising young researchers, plus the Adams Prize (2011) given by Cambridge University. He achieved world recognition in 2013 with his proof of the so-called Goldbach’s weak conjecture, which had resisted solution for 250 years. This achievement helped him capture a Humboldt Professorship, one of a few positions in Germany reserved for outstanding specialists in various scientific fields.

Giorgio Novello is Italian ambassador to the governments of Norway and Iceland. Following legal studies at the University of Padova, he entered the Italian diplomatic service in 1986, serving for fifteen years in Rome, Nigeria, Britain and Germany. During this time he also studied in Paris and London, receiving a degree in economics from the University of London in 1994. From 2002 until 2006 he served as First Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Italy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in Vienna. In 2004 was named Officer in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, and in the same year received a master’s degree in economic history from the London School of Economics. As of 2006, Novello served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome, as department head for international financial institutions and, as of 2008, as counsellor in the Ministry of Economic Development. During this period, he also led courses in international relations at the University of Trieste, including Esperanto. He received his ambassadorship in 2013. His diplomatic talents, supported by extensive knowledge of law, literature, economics and history, were recognized by the governments of France with the title of Knight of the National Order of Merit (2013) and Norway with the Grand Cross of the Norwegian Order of Merit (2016).

Other members of the Honorary Committee are: Ulrich Brandenburg, former German ambassador in Moscow and Lisbon, Chang Choon-sik, former president of Dankook University (Republic of Korea), Humphrey Tonkin, president emeritus of the University of Hartford (USA), Giuliano Turone, former judge of the Italian Supreme Appellate Court, and John C. Wells, professor emeritus of Phonetics in the University of London.

UEA congratulates the UN for introducing sign-language interpretation

14 July 2017. Cesco Reale and Stefano Keller, UEA representatives at the UN Geneva, participated in meetings at the tenth session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), held at the Palais des Nations from 10 to 14 July.

Topics at this year’s session included analysis of the participation of indigenous individuals in the UN system, and presentation of practical examples aimed at implementing the ten-year-old UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The eighth agenda item was concerned, among other things, with the right of indigenous peoples to cultural heritage, including the mother tongue.

A significant new development was the provision of interpretation for the Deaf. At the conclusion of the session, Keller spoke with the sign-language team and with the director of conference services at the Palais des Nations, Mr. H. P. Colas, thanking and congratulating him for this new UN service, which supports the rights of the Deaf, allowing them to participate in discussion.

Reale and Keller displayed information on Esperanto, the Universal Esperanto Association, and the Zamenhof Year, and spoke with representatives of indigenous peoples and NGOs. They also explored the possibility of organizing a parallel event at the UN on the occasion of some similar future meeting.

Sustainable tourism: Topic of this year’s World Esperanto Congress

30 July 2017. In observance of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, proclaimed by the United Nations for 2017, this year’s World Esperanto Congress, in Seoul, Republic of Korea, addressed the topic “Tourism and Development: Paths to Sustainability”. In five sessions, led by Stephanie Cabovianco (Argentina), the congress noted “the urgency of reducing the ecological and social damage caused by many forms of tourism, and of developing new and more sustainable forms.” The topic is particularly important for speakers of Esperanto because “members travel frequently to meet one another and to discover the wealth of other cultures.” The congress emphasized “the essential role played by knowledge of a common language in the promotion of reciprocal contacts among people of different cultures, and the unique contribution of Esperanto to this field” and confirmed “the desire of our movement to continue to work to actively involve, educate and inspire people of all countries in a more inclusive and conscious culture of tourism.” In doing so, it echoed numerous other statements on the link between tourism and language, issued over the years, including the Manila Declaration of the UN World Tourism Organization (1985) which underlined “the importance of knowledge of languages, notably those with a universal vocation such as Esperanto.”

A total of 1174 speakers of Esperanto attended the Seoul congress, from 61 countries.

The full text of the congress resolution follows:

We, the 1174 participants in the 102nd World Esperanto Congress, from 61 countries in all parts of the world, meeting in Seoul, Korea,
Desirous to contribute to the work of the International Year for Sustainable Tourism proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) for 2017,
Having discussed the topic “Tourism and Development: Paths to Sustainability” in several sessions and from many points of view in the course of the congress week,
Noting the importance of sustainable tourism for the worldwide Esperanto community, whose members travel frequently to meet one another and to discover the wealth of other cultures,
Stressing the essential role played by knowledge of a common language in the promotion of reciprocal contacts among people of different cultures, and the unique contribution of Esperanto to this field;
Assert the urgency of reducing the ecological and social damage caused by many forms of tourism, and of developing new and more sustainable forms;
Invite activists for sustainable tourism to develop an awareness of the major advantages offered by a common neutral language for the cultivation of responsible and reciprocal relations between tourists and hosts;
the desire of our movement to continue to work to actively involve, educate and inspire people of all countries in a more inclusive and conscious culture of tourism.

Portugal, Finland, Canada: Goals of the next three World Esperanto Congresses

30 July 2017. As already announced, next year’s World Esperanto Congress will take place in Lisbon from 28 July to 4 August 2018. It is anticipated that particular attention will be devo9ted to artistic aspects of Esperanto, particularly literature, theatre, and music. It is likely that some 2000 Esperanto speakers will attend, from all parts of the world. At this year’s World Congress in Seoul, the congress cities for 2019 and 2020 were announced – namely, Lahti, Finland, and Montréal, Canada, respectively.

Congress participants discuss Korean reunification with South Korean parliamentarians – in Korean and Esperanto languages

29 July 2017. An international meeting on the reunification of the two Koreas attended by the Vice-President of Parliament, the heads of two of the Korean political parties and numerous parliamentarians, took place at the seat of the South Korean Parliament. There were many deputies and 130 interested outsiders from 21 countries at the event, including diplomats and politicians, who were at the same time participating in the World Esperanto Congress taking place in Seoul this week. A lively debate took place between the meeting chairman, Korean professor So Gilsu and fourteen members of the roundtable. Those present observed that international participants were clearly influenced by the mass media of their countries, their history books, their travels and their experiences with the North Korean situation, but clearly this international debate provided much needed clarification.

As the deputy speaker of the parliament, Park Joo, explained, “After 2000, South and North eventually began to have summit meetings that produced an atmosphere of peaceful co-operation with regard to the reunion of divided families, economic cooperation and various cultural exchanges. But over the last ten years, relations between the South and the North have been interrupted … due to various military provocations. Also some powers fight for hegemony in the Korean Peninsula and therefore our country is in a state of political and economic confusion and agitation. For peace and tranquility in North East Asia, we must as soon as possible discuss the reunification of Korea.”

The conference, whose purpose was to raise awareness of the need for reunification, was carried out with the patronage of the metropolitan city of Seoul and was organized by the Korean Esperantist Association with the support of the Korean Parliament. The debate took place in two languages, Korean and Esperanto.

Soros Lectures, October 13, November 10, feature Esperanto

10 August 2017. The final two lectures in the Tivadar Soros Lecture series will feature English professor Nico Israel (October 13) and publisher Ulrich Becker (November 10). Both lectures will take place at the City University of New York Graduate Center, 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, in New York City.

“Militopucos: James Joyce and Universal Language” will be the topic of Professor Israel’s lecture. He describes the lecture as “A discussion of passages addressing Esperanto in James Joyce’s novels Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, as approached by a non-Esperantist literary scholar. At issue are Joyce’s positions on art, language and gesture in an age of war.” Nico Israel is Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center and Hunter College.

Ulrich Becker’s topic will be “Esperanto is (not) dead: About the enduring discrepancy between the perception of Esperanto as a language without culture and its extraordinary cultural achievements.”  He adds: “Throughout the history of Esperanto, its proponents have been confronted with the criticism that they are promoting a language that cannot develop a sustainable culture, because its speakers are not an ethnically or culturally definable entity or based in a geographically unified area. The actual cultural achievements of Esperanto speak an entirely different language, both with regards to the cultural output within the Esperanto movement and the cultural impact Esperanto has been having on the world. The lecture will focus, among other topics, on the field of publishing in Esperanto.”

Ulrich Becker is the principal of the publishing house Mondial that specializes in books in and about Esperanto and publishes one of the movement’s leading literary magazines. He is an author of prose and poetry in Esperanto and German, was a co-founder of the German Society for Interlinguistics and worked as manager, organizer, and editor in national Esperanto associations.

The lecture series commemorates Tivadar Soros, whose two books written in Esperanto, Crusoes in Siberia and Masquerade, describe the experiences of the author in the First and Second World Wars respectively. The lectures, delivered in English, feature the work of several New York area scholars currently at work on Esperanto and planned language.

Office of the Universal Esperanto Association at the United Nations
777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017.