Thursday, August 18, 2011

50.Summer-4 Country-Northern European Tour 2011

1. I only had one phone E-o contact in Hamburg (July 15th to 19th), where I arrive on July 15th.

2. In Copenhagen I began my Esperanto activitiy with a International League of Esperanto Teacher's (ILEI) Dinner. Heads of the Copenhagen University (where the conference occured) were met. Professors Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Phillipson were also greeted. (They are notable advocates of linguistic diversity.) About 40 Esperantists were present at the Ravelin Restaurant with the strongest rain beating on the roof making conversation a bit difficult.

A two-day multilingual program (for non-esperantists) was attended, organized by ILEI. Translation or interpretation was usually available.

3. During the Universala Kongreso I collaborated with Humphrey Tonkin at 4 events. a) The Club Fair on Saturday. b) Lecture on the essential bodies with the UN. c) Lecture on Esperanto at the UN where I spoke for 10 minutes. d) Esperantic Studies Foundation lecture with Martin Schaefer. At several of these events I was able to better aquaint myself with Stefano Keller, UEA Director for External Affairs, and with whom I've corresponded with a few dozen times.

Regretably I missed a program on the translation of the Tivadar Soros book. (Elsewhere, I wore a t-shirt, just made to order, with the group photo of the Zamenhof Symposium 2010 twice during the UK, a cause for a few conversations. George and Jonathan Soros are in the picture.).

After the UK I was hosted by esperantists, Jan and Lene Niemann in Elsinore (Helsinore). Jan is a leading member of the International Federation of Esperantist Railroadworkers. I returned to Copenhagen to enjoy a service at the Unitarian Church of Copenhagen with Esperantists, Arne Kasper and Tara Gregors, important organizers of the UK. The nearby cemetary spoke many words when I saw the tomb-stone with a green Esperanto star stating "Magarete Noll, Mother of the Danish Esperanto Movement". With no doubt the founder of the Danish Esperanto movement was also a Unitarian. We'll enjoy photos of this forgotton history. One of the UK conference rooms was named Noll for this founder.

4. In Gothenburg, Sweden (Goteborg-pronounced Jo-te-bu-re in Swedish written in Esperanto) a meeting occured on my behalf at the Esperanto Cafe, a few feet from the large Esperanto Place (one of the largest in the world). The Esperanto flag and that of a dozen other countries stands at the entrance). Language clubs meet there and take the flag of the respective country to there table. The Esperanto Plaza was renovated in 2008 and its glass signs in Esperanto are damaged due to crazed skate boarding which occurs in numerous plazas.

Thanks to Margareta for joining me two days.
Inga Johanson and Siv Burell were the main organizers. I could talk about the UN and Esperanto among several subject during a two hour meeting.

Inga (pronounced Inja in Swedish as written in Esperanto) is a librarian and collected some 300 E-o books at the main public library where she has worked. Because of renovations and her future retirement, this collection is at notable risk.
The library-computer time she offered me was essential in organizing the last 10 day days of my program.

5. Douglas Draper is the motor of the Norwegian Esperanto Association and the Esperanto Office in Oslo, Norway. A half an hour walk, or 15 minutes by bus or tram, this office can accept 20 people for meetings. It was aquired-purchase- in 1981 and had more numerous meetings in previous years. Thoughts for rental arrangement have been considered. As noted in a UN-NY teleconference, like Humphrey Tonkin, Douglas is an expatriate of Britain, base abroad for most of his life. Douglas has given great dedication to learning Norwegian and brought me to a Green Party meeting at a nearby communtiy garden/communty center--by bike.

Six local Esperantists, several immigrants among them, came to hear me talk about my activities in New York at the UN. I showed several enlarged pictures of meeting with UN leaders.

6. In Olso, Norway two conferences were collaboratively organized by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and International Liason Committe of Freethinkers (ILCAF). On Wednesday ILCAF brought a hundred people together from over a dozen countries, with a French majority. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday 400 more people arrived from a total of 50 countries. Unique contacts occured with Indians, Pakistanis and Africans of several countries. ILCAF's website is partially in Esperanto, among 14 other languages. I was informed that Christian Riviere, President of ATEO (atheist Esperantist organization) provide translations.

I photographed the extensive damage to windows in about 5 square blocks of downtown Oslo by an indivdiual who later killed some 70 teenage activists of the Norwegian Labor (Workers) Party. Windows of our Convention Center were also damaged. This tragedy was referred to in several talks at the convention.

Half of the 500 IHEU conference-goers were Norwegians. Fortunately I had ample flyers on Esperanto in Norwegian, provided by Douglas.

When I brought out the large plastic Esperanto sign on Wednesday, a French 18 year old youth, Alex Meyer approached me in enthusiastic Esperanto, pointing out that he rarely used Esperanto outside of his small town on the French Swiss border. He was a friend of Mireille Grosjean, an active Esperantist of Switzerland--sometimes UN representative in Geneva. He said he met another Esperantist already at ILCAF and at lunch introduced me with Dominique Simeone, whose name I heard, and mistakenly thought was a women.

Of some note, Alex was with a group of some 10 younger participants, who undoubtedly heard of Esperanto from him.

Later at the headquarter of Norwegian branch of IHEU I met up with Jose Antonio Vergara, (a former UEA director) where we took a photo with Knut, the head librarian there and a New Yorker of Sri Lankan background and interests, Hemantha.

Speakers of the convention noted that the IHEU buildings in Oslo, Norway and Manhattan, New York (Ethical Culture) are by far the largest offices/centers of the organization.

I set up a larger exhibit of Esperanto materials on Friday, including photos taped to a nearby column of me with Ban Ki-moon and Michelle Bachelet (UN Women) seen by all 500 participants, but discussed individually by about 125 of the participants with me, Jose and Dominique. Since peace and religious tolerance, with acceptance of atheists was key to the discussions I showed literature from a variety of religions and the Esperanto atheist organization.

I estimate that I exchanged some 40 business cards, notably with Sonja, a Dutch organizer who enthusiasticaly agreed to utilize an Esperanto translation of the conference resolutions/conclusions.

I returned to the USA on August 15th with notable jet-lag.

On, Wednesday, August 18th, after a visit to the UEA/NY a teleconference was held with 5 activists, including myself, motivating me to complete this summary of my summer travels to Europe.


About Me

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