AUT goes international with language revitalisation

25 May, 2012
An initial group of six AUT staff left New Zealand for the USA last week to promote the work being done here in the International Centre for Language Revitalisation.

These academics left early last week and soon the rest of the AUT group, including postgraduate students, will follow, along with three fellows of the International Centre for Language Revitalisation (the Centre) with one elder from a rural Māori community.

While in the USA, Associate Professor Pare Keiha, Professor Tania Ka’ai, Professor John Moorfield, Dr Rachael Ka’ai-Mahuta, Dr Dean Mahuta and Tania Smith from the Centre, will work with other academics and language revitalisation groups, in profiling the Centre and building on relationships made when the Centre was launched at the UN last year.

The trip so far 
After attending a special ceremony for the fifth year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the UN, AUT co-hosted a side event entitled, “Revitalising Endangered Languages” at the Eleventh Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in conjunction with Columbia University and Barnard College.
Associate Professor Pare Keiha, says these opportunities are exciting for not only the Centre but also for AUT and the Te Ara Poutama (Māori Development) faculty.
“This is a chance for us to network with international academics and experts in a range of fields, and promote AUT as an internationally known university. We are able to promote the work done by Professors Moorfield and Ka’ai in language revitalisation. The free to access technology has now been developed for Māori, Mangaia (Cook Islands), Hawaiian, Salish (Montana) and Yiddish.”
The group are currently travelling to Washington DC to meet with the programme coordinator at the Centre for Australian and New Zealand Studies at Georgetown University and will attend a Pacific Day presentation and reception at the New Zealand Embassy.
What is next? 
The remaining AUT delegation joins the group for a two-day language symposium in New York City 31 May to 1 June co-hosted by AUT University, the International Centre for Language Revitalisation and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York with support from the Endangered Language Alliance (ELA) and the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
The symposium entitled “Language Revitalisation in the 21st Century: Going Global, Staying Local” will include a special event honouring Dr Joshua Fishman for his life-long work in language revitalisation across the world, including his own language, Yiddish.
The Centre will make a make a special announcement at the event as part of the tribute.
Following the symposium, AUT students and faculty will travel to the Mohegan Sun Convention Center in Uncasville, Connecticut, to meet with Mohegan elders and present papers at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) conference which is held over  three days at the beginning of June.
For more on the AUT International Centre for Language Revitalisation click here
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