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  • Bolivia’s first elected indigenous president, Morales represents one of country’s 36 native american communities.

    Bolivia’s first elected indigenous president, Morales represents one of country’s 36 native american communities. | Photo: EFE

Published 22 January 2019

The seminar will showcase Indigenous languages, emphasizing the need to conserve, revitalize, and promote them

Bolivian president Evo Morales will be hosting the International Year of Indigenous Languages in New York for the United Nations on February 1, Bolivian Foreign Minister Diego Pary said.

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"The President has been invited to participate on February 1 of the launching of the International Year of Indigenous Languages and will be there as the main guest," Pary told reporters.

The international seminar will showcase the world’s ancient tongues, highlighting the desperate need to conserve, revitalize, and promote them, state news agency ABI said.

Pary informed media personnel that Bolivia’s leadership role has served to preserve Indigenous rights around the world. Thanks to the president’s persistence, numerous policies have been approved in both the Organization of American States and the United Nations, the minister said.

Bolivia’s first elected Indigenous president, Morales is Aymara and represents one of country’s 36 native communities.

Some 370 million Indigenous people represent the 5,000 cultures thriving in 90 countries around the world and only 7,000 languages are still spoken, according to a recent U.N. report.

Last year, the Atlas of Language at Risk warned that 190 Indigenous languages in Brazil were at risk of extinction. The data, organized by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or Unesco, also indicates that Brazil is the second country, only behind the United States, with the largest number of languages at risk of extinction.

However, other countries in the region have introduced measures to preserve native languages.

Mexico’s Gonzalo Santiago Martinez developed an app to save an Oto-Manguean Indigenous language from Oaxaca called Zapoteco (or Didxaza).

While in Peru, where Muchik was once considered a dead language, 80 speakers have emerged and incorporated the study into 38 Peruvian schools, thereby revitalizing one of the most important pre-Colombian tongues in the region.


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