2008 International Year of Languages
Among the proposed areas of partnership and collaboration (and this is how our local agencies - the KWF, the Summer Institute of Linguistics, National Commission on Culture and the Arts, the various embassies, etc. can come in), include multilingualism in cyberspace, radio programs in all languages, translating projects especially from and into lesser known languages, languages and migration, safeguarding endangered languages.
Language and multilingualism is a cross-cutting theme of UNESCO's five program areas in education, the sciences, culture, and communication. Languages are regarded not merely as indispensable tools of communication or vectors of culture and filters of worldviews and values, but also essential constituents of self-consciousness and identity of individuals and societies. Without commitment of all stakeholders to promote languages, including the mother tongue, priority programs on endangered languages, multilingualism, intercultural dialogue, Education for All, inclusive knowledge societies and similar programs are bound to fail.
The priority given to language can be further demonstrated through past agreements such as: Declaration of the World Congress on Human Rights - rights for persons belonging to minorities in the use of their own language (Vienna, 1993); UN General Assembly focusing on preservation and protection of languages (1999): Report of the UN Secretary-General on measures to protect, promote, and preserve all languages; World Summit on the Information Society (2003) which emphasized promotion of linguistic diversity; Universal Declaration of Cultural Diversity in 2003 which gave support to expression, creation, and dissemination in the greatest possible number of languages, encourage linguistic diversity at all levels of education and foster the learning of several languages at a young age. …