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SIL International Executive Director, Dr. Michel Kenmogne, was a featured speaker at the official launch of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Language (IYIL) on January 28 at UNESCO in Paris. He shared about his formative experience as a speaker of one of Cameroon’s 283 indigenous languages, Ghomaálá’, and expressed his strong desire to see indigenous languages preserved around the world. “When we talk about languages, it’s not only about signs and symbols, it’s . . . about real people,” he said.
Dr. Kenmogne stressed that, just as a decline in biodiversity endangers the surrounding ecosystem, the loss of indigenous languages threatens the quality of human life.
SIL has been preserving and promoting indigenous languages globally for the past 85 years. Dr. Kenmogne said he hoped that IYIL would be an opportunity for the global community to protect the world’s cultural diversity through measures that conserve and sustain indigenous languages and their communities.
Dr. Kenmogne presenting as part of a panel facilitating multi-stakeholder dialogue | Dr. Kenmogne greeting the Director-General of the National Institute of Indigenous Languages (INALI), an organization SIL partners with in Mexico