Newsletter for September 2018

Number 36, September 2018

The UNESCO Courier in Esperanto: One Year Later

Until 2012, the UNESCO Courier was published in 36 languages. The paper edition ceased publication because of financial problems. Last year, the Chinese ministry of education assumed the cost of publication in the six official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish), and editions in three additional languages, variously financed, also began publication. Among the three additional languages was Esperanto. In June 12, to mark the first anniversary of the resumption of publication, a special Forum was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to bring together the editorial teams for the various languages.

As Vincent Defourny, UNESCO’s Director of Public Information, remarked in his introduction, “the Esperantists have seized the opportunity” to launch an edition in the International Language. The editor-in-chief of the Esperanto edition, Trezoro Hyang Yinbao, travelled from China to be present at the Forum, which was also attended by Renée Triolle, UNESCO representative of the Universal Esperanto Association. Both intervened in the discussion. A central concern of the Forum: how, at one and the same time, to maintain high quality in the contributions, assure cultural diversity by attracting authors from a variety of countries, sustain a thoughtful editorial line, and increase the readership?

In the afternoon, in a session with Director-General Audrey Azoulay, the participants broke into three groups to consider “Building a shared future for humankind through dialogue and coöperation”. The Forum ended with a presentation of traditional arts as examples of Chinese intangible cultural heritage.

103rd World Congress of Esperanto convenes in Lisbon

Theatrical and musical presentations, scholarly lectures, receptions, banquets, business meetings, and a host of other events formal and informal marked the 103rd World Congress of Esperanto, which met in Lisbon from 28 July to 4 August in the presence of over 1500 participants from over 70 countries.

“Cultures, Languages, Globalization: Where do we go from here?” was the theme of the congress, discussed in four plenary sessions in the course of the week. The final congress resolution noted “the coincidence of these discussions with the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, which marked a turning point in the process of globalization” – and indeed World War I was given particular attention in several congress sessions.

“Cultural and linguistic discrimination,” in part linked to the legacy of colonialism, was also emphasized in the resolution, which pointed out that “the non-partisan language Esperanto is a powerful means of decolonization of the mind, enabling mutual recognition and understanding outside the customary frameworks of privilege and exclusion.”

The resolution called for “urgent attention to the challenging problems of linguistic, cultural and other forms of discrimination,” and declared “the readiness of the speakers of Esperanto to work together in activities to assist and protect individuals and peoples against such violence.” It appealed to all those working for Esperanto “to engage in practical activities in solidarity with those currently suffering,” and singled out migrants and refugees as particularly afflicted by language difficulties.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay greets 103rd World Esperanto Congress

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay was among those sending special greetings to the 103rd World Congress of Esperanto which recently convened in Lisbon. Her message read as follows:

I am pleased to be able to send these supportive words to the participants of the 103rd World Congress of the Universal Esperanto Association.

You are fortunate to be meeting in the magnificent city of Lisbon, a city rich in history, built at the crossroads of diverse cultures, a city open to the world, at the edge of the Iberian peninsula. I have no doubt that the exceptional setting will inspire fruitful exchanges.

As you know, UNESCO has supported the teaching of Esperanto for many years. Our Organization shares with the Esperanto movement common values: the aim of building a peaceful world, empathy among the peoples, respect for cultural diversity, solidarity across borders.

The cement of these values is the capability to dialogue, to listen, and to share.

Languages, the vectors of this dialogue, accordingly constitute, for the mission that we must accomplish and for the defence of the values that are ours, an essential element.

We must defend the languages, especially the less common languages, the indigenous languages, which we now know are disappearing at the rate of one every two weeks, an irreplaceable loss of our human heritage.

We must also defend multilingualism not only by appropriate public policies but also in the virtual space of the internet, giving life to the linguistic and cultural diversity of all communities, so that all people can enjoy their own history and identity on the basis of the symbolic resources of their community of origin.

This commitment is also yours. It is so because Esperanto does not aim to erase the multitude of languages spoken in the world. On the contrary, it represents a means of communication respectful of all languages, both majority languages and minority languages, and seeks to establish one community of speakers separate from all economic, political, or cultural hegemony.

To speak Esperanto is to raise oneself to a level of cosmopolitan awareness, to be a citizen of the world – but without renouncing one’s particular attachments.

The chosen theme for your congress this year is “Cultures, Languages, Globalization: Where Do We Go From Here?” The direction to take is certainly the one that your Movement and our Organization have pursued for many years, namely to undertake, now and in the future, to preserve and revitalize that essential element of the nonmaterial human heritage that is language, and to defend linguistic diversity and promote multilingual education. Thus we will successfully build a more open, more inclusive and peaceful world.

“Many voices, one world” is the slogan of our emblematic publication the UNESCO Courier.

“Multaj voĉoj, unu mondo” is how that ideal that we share is translated into Esperanto – now memorialized in the edition of our journal that will henceforth appear in Esperanto as Unesko-Kuriero.

Finally I want to convey, in the name of UNESCO, my cordial good wishes for the success of your Congress.

Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO

Esperanto movement celebrates the International Day of Peace

On the occasion of the International Day of Peace, the Universal Esperanto Association issued the following message, addressed both to the Esperanto movement and also to international organizations engaged in working for peace:

September 21 is the International Day of Peace, celebrated across the world under the auspices of the United Nations. This day is an occasion to remember the importance of peace, the rewards of peaceful living, and the fact that many people throughout the world live in conditions that are the opposite of peaceful, in which their well-being, their freedom, indeed their very lives, are constantly compromised and threatened.

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has announced that this year we will particularly remember the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, accepted seventy years ago as a corner-stone of the post-war world order. Its Article 3 affirms that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person,” but all too often we forget about these rights — and also forget that seventy years ago the international community solemnly declared its fidelity to these principles.

The Universal Esperanto Association can note with pride that its constitution clearly alludes, in its fifth Article, to the Declaration, noting that “Good international relations and respect for human rights, as these are defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognized agreements, are essential conditions for the work of UEA.”

Through its work for direct communication among the various peoples and for the dignity of all persons across the world in equality and in linguistic justice, the Universal Esperanto Association reaffirms its dedication to the ideals expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It recognizes the efforts of the United Nations, often in the most difficult circumstances, to take action for peace and to reconcile enemies, and it pledges once again to continue its work, in support of the UN and other civil society organizations with similar goals, to create a more equal and peaceful world.

Office of the Universal Esperanto Association at the United Nations
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