Nourish and Cherish. Conference on Indigenous Languages

On July 5–7, 2022, Moscow hosted the High Level International Conference “World Treasury of Mother Tongues: Nourish and Cherish. National and International Context, Policies and Practices to Preserve Indigenous Languages.” Representatives of 50 countries and regions delivered over 80 reports during the event.

Tawfik Jelassi, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, in his address to the organizers of the event, noted that this International Conference provides an opportunity to share knowledge and the best practices regarding the preservation the indige­nous languages and advances the International Decade of Indigenous Languages Objectives.

The conference was opened by Igor Barinov, Head of the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs (FADN) and Chairman of the National Organizing Committee for the Decade. “The diversity of languages is our national treasure and wealth, and their preservation is our absolute long-term priority,” he said.

Defining the objectives for the next decade, he pointed out, “Language is a living system that is in constant motion and development. We look at the ongoing processes objectively. We have a lot to work on. This concerns the improvement of legislation, public administration, and personnel training system, the expansion of the participation of civil society structures, civil activists, and high-tech companies in these efforts.”

The participants of the conference discussed various aspects of multilingualism in the world: national languages and digital technologies; preservation and revival of indigenous languages and cultures in the digital age; language rights and language activism; multilingualism, economics, and knowledge societies. The attendees repeatedly emphasized the importance of the representation of langu­ages in the Internet space and the availability of various information in indigenous languages.

The event was organized by the FADN of Russia, the Intergovernmental Council of the UNESCO Information for All Programme, the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme, the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, and the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.