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Dr. Juan Ossio Acuña, Minister of Culture and Jaime Ayala, spokesperson for SIL
(July 2011) The Museo Nacional de la Cultura Peruana (National Museum of Peruvian Culture) has opened an exhibit featuring artifacts from the country’s Amazonian peoples, a collection donated by SIL Peru (Instituto Lingüístico de Verano Perú). The artifacts will be on display from 27 June through 24 September.
The opening celebration was hosted by Peru’s Minister of Culture, Dr. Juan Ossio Acuña, who expressed gratitude for SIL’s contributions to Peru. Jaime Ayala, formerly of SIL Peru, served as a spokesperson for SIL. Also in attendance were Steve Echerd, Coordinator of Linguistics Services for SIL and Adjunct Professor at CILTA*, and CILTA Administrator Alejandra Guajardo. After the ceremony, Dr. Ossio Acuña personally guided the SIL representatives on a tour of the museum.
Peru is a country with a great deal of cultural and linguistic diversity, with 92 living languages and 12 more which are believed to have become extinct. The Ministry of Culture was created in July 2010 when the former National Institute of Culture was promoted to the level of a Ministry. At that time several other government agencies were attached as departments, including the National Archive, the National Library, and the Academia Mayor de la Lengua Quechua (the official Quechua Language Academy). The Ministry of Culture includes in its scope of responsibility the preservation of nonmaterial heritage, including knowledge about the languages and cultures of Peru.
SIL has been working in Peru since 1946 under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. SIL is a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to serving language communities worldwide as they develop the skills and capacity necessary to preserve and revitalize their languages. SIL’s field linguists work in partnership with minority language speakers to collect, analyze, organize and publish language and culture data. As an international advocate for ethnolinguistic minority language speakers, SIL is dedicated to supporting ethnic minority peoples worldwide in their efforts to preserve their language and cultural identities in the 21st century.
*CILTA (Curso Internacional de Lingüística, Traducción y Alfabetización) is a linguistics training program conducted by SIL in cooperation with Universidad Ricardo Palma in Lima, Peru. The program offers cross-cultural instruction for Latin Americans involved in language development.