Monday, June 28, 2010

39. Summary of UN-Esperanto Activity/NY-Geneva

This is the official report UEA must submit to the United Nations to maintain relations with the most powerful International Organization.

It is called the QUADRENNIAL REPORT FOR YEARS 2006 - 2009
Part I
Introduction: Universal Esperanto Association (UEA) was founded in 1908 in Geneva. It is the largest international organization for Esperanto speakers with members in 124 countries. Its headquarters are in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. UEA has UN office in New York and regional office for Africa in Lokossa (Benin).

Aims and purposes of the organization and its main course of action: UEA works not only to promote Esperanto, but to stimulate discussion of the world language problem and to call attention to the necessity of equality among languages. Its statute lists the following four goals: - to promote the use of the international language Esperanto; - to act for the solution of the language problem in international relations and to facilitate international communication; - to encourage all types of spiritual and material relations among people, irrespective of differences of nationality, race, sex, religion, politics, or language; - to nurture among its members a strong sense of solidarity, and to develop in them understanding and respect for other peoples.

Any change that made have had a significant impact on the organizations vision:

There have been no changes in the constitution and by-laws of the Association during the four-year period. The number of countries where the Association has members has increased from 113 in 2005 to 124 in 2009. New national associations have been accepted in Burundi, Madagascar, Mongolia, Nepal and Tajikistan. In 2006 the Association set up its regional office for African countries in Lokossa (Benin). In 2007 Dr. Probal Dasgupta from India was elected as the President of the Association for a three year term. Other Board members are from Chile, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Poland.

Part II
Contribution of the organization to the work of the United Nations:

Over the years, UEA has organized a number of conferences and symposia in New York on aspects of languages and the work of the United Nations. Its latest such event focused specifically on the contribution of Esperanto. On 15 December 2009, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Zamenhof, the founder of Esperanto, the Association organized a commemorative symposium on Zamenhof at the Church Center, 777 United Nations Plaza. Some eighty people attended, including United Nations officials, diplomats, NGO representatives, and others. The Association is represented at the United Nations in New York by Humphrey Tonkin and Neil Blonstein, who has managed the UEA New York office since 2008. They are assisted by Scott Paige, Thomas Eccardt, and Ulrich Becker. The work of this team has three aspects: to bring the work of the Association to the attention of the UN (particularly in such areas as human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, mother-tongue education, and the many other topics where language and language equality are issues), to bring the work of the UN to the attention of Esperanto speakers throughout the world, and to pursue connections with other members of the NGO community. Under the leadership of this team, UEA recently decided to launch a website designed to provide information on the work of the United Nations and UNESCO. The website will describe the structure and operations of the United Nations and UNESCO, include translations of major United Nations and UNESCO documents, provide suggestions for teaching about the United Nations, and explain how speakers of Esperanto can get involved in working to promote the United Nations and its various organizations. The goal is to educate speakers of Esperanto about the work of the United Nations and to enlist their support for the United Nations in their respective countries. Given the distribution of Esperanto speakers across the world, and the fact that many of them are teachers and academics, this website has the potential to be highly influential in publicizing the work of the United Nations. UEA regularly distributes information about the United Nations, including the Esperanto translations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the children?s book "The United Nations: Come along with me!" by Nane Annan. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the Associaton launched a special website, www.linguistic-rights.org . During the World Congress of Esperanto in Florence (Italy) in August 2006 special attention was given to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. During the International Year of Languages 2008, UEA was particularly active in promoting the goals of the Year, especially its emphasis on the value of multilingualism. Languages and language learning received particular attention at the World Congress of Esperanto in Rotterdam (July 2008), and the Association was represented at numbers of United Nations and UNESCO meetings on the topic, including the conference "Languages Matter" at the United Nations Headquartes in New York (December 2008). David Barratt, songwriter, composer, recording artist and producer, presented his audio sculpture Karito in the General Assembly lobby in New York City from October 15 to November 19, 2008. According to his website, Karito is an audio sculpture made from interpretations of the 192 national anthems of the member states layered one upon another and projected simultaneously from multiple sound sources. Karito is the Esperanto word meaning "love of one?s neighbour."
Participation to the United Nations: The Association is a regular attendee at the Thursday NGO briefings in New York and is actively involved in the work of the UN Department of Public Information. It has been represented each year at the DPI/NGO Conference and at other meetings (for example the Annual Meeting of UNICEF). 1-3 September 2008, three representatives of UEA attended the Social Forum of the United Nations Human Rights Council on poverty and human rights in Geneva. A statement of UEA on linguistic human rights was submitted to the 9th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in September 2008. 15-16 December 2008 UEA participated in the First Session of the Forum on Minority Issues of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Representative of UEA, Stefan Keller, spoke at the Session. 02-27 March 2009 UEA participated in the 10th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. UEA representative spoke about violation of linguistic human rights in several countries. 12-13 November 2009 UEA participated in the Second Session of Forum on Minority Issues of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Cooperation with United Nations bodies: On 24 April 2008 a symposium on linguistic human rights was held in cooperation with the United Nations Office at Geneva, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the UEA and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some 70 people from 13 countries participated, among them officials of the United Nations and Geneva-based NGO's.
Initiatives taken by the organization in support of the MDGs: Esperanto translation of the MDGs has been widely distributed, for example in Wikipedia: http://eo.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarmilaj_Evoluigaj_Celoj Attention to MDGs is given in speeches, lectures, seminars etc. during the annual World Congresses of Esperanto and in the Congress resolutions as well as in periodicals of the Association, and national Esperanto associations are called to join this activity in their congresses and publications.

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