Saturday, December 20, 2008

UNESCO-PARIS HEADQUARTERS CELEBRATES ZAMENHOF

This past Monday, December 15, was one of the largest ONE DAY meetings in favor of the work of Ludovik Lazurus Zamenhof. This was Zamenhof's birthday and is usually celebrated in all of the Esperanto Clubs of the world in December. I estimate this at a thousand clubs in over 100 countries.
FOUR HUNDRED PEOPLE filled a hall in UNESCO's headquarters in Paris. I was pleased that L.L.Zamenhof's grandson, active for decades in the Movement spoke there. Zaleski-Zamenhof has himself lived an impressive life.
Unesco also sponsored a conference (Languages Matter) in New York inside of the UN. During the two day conference on the preservation of diversity, in a room built for over 400 participants there was never more than 150 people in the room simultaneously. I was able to mention Esperanto during two question periods. I was pleased with the opportunity.
Free tickets were available to the public at the entrance of the UN but the majority of participants were probably diplomats or employees of the UN. A few ambassadors (Mali, Luxembourg, Portugal) were there. To explain the partially empty room an organizer said publicly "Other important meetings of the General Assembly'' were going on simultaneously. I think it is an indication that this is not a priority for UN staff.
While many of the participants still cannot understand how a multilingual society is supported by the instruction of Esperanto, I am totally convinced that Esperanto encouraged me to continue studies in Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew.
All the speakers received an Update on Esperanto flyer and/or the Prague Manifesto booklet (printed in 5 languages).

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I have lived 16 years in other countries, notably, Israel and Brazil, among another 30 countries.