Building peace in the minds of men and women

Regional Meeting for IYIL2019: Supporting indigenous languages in the North American and Arctic Region

21 June 2019

The North American and Arctic Regional Meeting on Indigenous languages is the first of a series of regional meetings planned throughout 2019 within the framework of the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages, based on a recommendation by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, requesting UNESCO to act as lead organization, in order to draw attention to the critical loss of indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote them by taking urgent actions at the national and international levels.

The wide range of stakeholders participating in the meeting will take part in plenary sessions and group discussions, and will also contribute to the drafting of a Regional Outcome Document prepared in the context of IYIL2019. These inputs will impact the preparation of a Global Strategic Outcomes Document that is to be endorsed by the end of the International Year in order to communicate a clear vision for the future for the safeguard and promotion of indigenous languages around the world.

The event will take place on the margins of the International Conference “HELISET TŦE SḰÁL – “Let the Languages Live” in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada from 23 to 26 June 2019, and will bring together multiple stakeholders, including representatives of UNESCO, public sector organizations, indigenous leaders, elders and youth, indigenous and civil society organizations, scholars and experts in the field of indigenous languages.

Among the key objectives of the meeting is promoting the integration of indigenous languages into policy, strategic frameworks, research agendas as well as the development of concrete tools and services. It will also be about mainstreaming the idea that languages are not ‘confined’ to the cultural realm, but rather that they are key in enabling constructive dialogue and understanding, and therefore foster political reconciliation and peace-building. Linguistic rights should thus be seen as an integral part of the human rights and Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

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