DLS Shows Support for Endangered Languages at Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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Through its donation, Diplomatic Language Services became an official Sponsor of "One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage", one of the many key events at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The company hopes to help preserve global communication and understanding through the protection of the endangered languages of the world.

Diplomatic Language Services (DLS), a leading language services provider, is excited to be an official sponsor of the 47th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival: One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage. The Festival, running June 26th through June 30th and July 3rd – July 7th, seeks to conserve rare languages around the world in order to promote and preserve cultural diversity. One World, Many Voices is orchestrated by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices initiative, UNESCO, and the National Geographic Society. The Festival is free and open to the public. We encourage you to visit their website for more information: (http://www.festival.si.edu).

One World, Many Voices serves as a launching pad for a series of language-preservation initiatives that will continue beyond the Festival. The event features 120 speakers of endangered languages from a range of 10 to 12 various cultural communities. Through performances, skill demonstrations, interactive discussion sessions, and hands-on educational activities, these speakers will have an opportunity to share their knowledge and traditions with the public; to discuss the value of their languages to their culture; and to address the challenges they face in maintaining the life of these languages in the modern world.

How did DLS get involved?

In May 2012, DLS hosted a regional seminar on Opium Trade in Afghanistan. At this event, DLS was fortunate to have guest lecturer David Harrison, this year’s Program Curator. Harrison gave a powerful presentation about his extensive fieldwork in Siberia, Mongolia, Bolivia, India and Native America that equally impressed the audience and the DLS staff. These mutual respects for cultural and linguistic differences beget a common purpose. Soon thereafter, Harrison invited DLS to participate in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and it was an opportunity that our CEO, Jim Bellas, could not turn down.

Bellas, like One World, Many Voices and Harrison, believes that “embedded in the teaching of languages is the culture and the mindset of the people that speak that language. Beyond vocabulary and syntax, our instructors provide the way a native speaker would express themselves. There is a wealth of culture, traditions, values and history that comes with the language itself and those are lost forever when a language disappears.”

DLS serves to improve communication and understanding amongst various peoples of the world through language training, cultural training, and translation and interpretation training.

Please join DLS in celebrating the preservation of language and culture at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela.

Mr. Harrison, Program Curator for Once World, Many Voices, is a leading specialist on the study of endangered languages.

Mr. Jim Bellas has been the CEO of DLS for seven years. He is committed to preserving cultural integrity and diversity of global languages.

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Ashly Bauserman

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