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End of the First International Course of Kichwa Revitalization Strategies in Ecuador

15/03/2020

The driving force behind this project has been the 40 strategic agents in the recovery process of kichwa language who have been training for 8 consecutive weekends in Kichwa Revitalization Strategies in this course jointly organized by the Kichwa organization Sisariy and the Basque Garabide. Methodologically, this pioneer course has had a theoretical-practical approach in which the participants have received 120 teaching hours from 12 Kichwa and 6 Basque experts and have looked for an application to the knowledge acquired. The 18 teachers come from referential organizations, such as Radio Iluman or Tinkunakuy in the case of the Kichwa or the Sociolinguistic Cluster, Elhuyar Foundation, AEK, Andoain City Council or Aiaraldea Ekintzen Faktoria in the case of Basque language.

Although the course has concluded, the organization announced the cancellation of the closing act scheduled for March 16 due to sanitary recommendations to prevent the spread of covid-19. The event aimed to publicly present the 9 linguistic revitalization projects, fruit of the work carried out during the course. The president of the UTN (Technical University of the North) in Ibarra, where this course has been held, was planning to preside over the event and, along with him, more than 30 authorities had confirmed their attendance, including the prefect of the province of Imbabura, the mayor of Ibarra, capital of the province, or mayors of major cities such as Cayambe, Cotacachi and Otavalo, in addition to the zonal director of Bilingual Education.

Elvis Tuquerres, coordinator of the Kichwa Sisariy organization, values ​​the development of the course very positively and emphasizes that "we have brought the minga (communitary work), a characteristic of the Kichwa community, into the academic field. Now is the time for social and political agents commit to implement the strategic plan for the revitalization of the kichwa that we have jointly built." For its part, the Basque organization Garabide, which has been working with the Kichwa community for more than 10 years, is surprised and grateful at the work carried out, so it agrees to follow up on it and declares that: "there is a need for awareness-raising on the linguistic emergency that we live in the world, that is why linguistic cooperation is now more necessary than ever. Initiatives like this course are referential, not only for the Kichwa community, but for the 6,500 minority languages ​​of the world that we are fighting for a dominant language does not replace us. " Although a date cannot be set yet, the organization assures that the closing ceremony will take place later, once the health crisis is over.

Looking ahead, there seems to be a glimpse of light on the horizon. After naming 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the period 2022-2032 Decade of Indigenous Languages, an initiative that was presented at a High-level meeting before the international community on February 28 in the slogan “Building a decade of actions for indigenous languages”. And it is precisely this spirit of construction of actions, not only for indigenous languages, but also with indigenous communities, that has guided this first edition of the International Course of Kichwa Revitalization Strategies. Hopefully a second edition will follow.

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