Call for participation - Voices of the World

Signe Byrge Sørensen signe at FINAL-CUT.DK
Thu May 26 08:48:32 UTC 2005

Call for participation in Voices of the World

An international media project on endangered languages 

Dear colleagues around the world,


Voices of the World (VOW) aims to build international awareness of the
diversity of mankind through a world-wide documentary film and media
project. We want to portray the peoples of the world, giving face and voice
to each culture and empowering every language community to speak. 

The goal of VOW is to strengthen our global mutual belonging. VOW is an
international non-profit initiative of UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador for
Languages Mrs. Vigdis Finnbogadottir, based on an original idea by the
internationally acclaimed filmmaker Janus Billeskov Jansen, supported by the
Danish Government, the UN and by leading linguists from all over the world. 



Our first task is to create a media event in connection with UN’s 60th
anniversary in October 2005. 

All the Nordic public service TV stations are committed to this broadcast.
We are presently working on similar arrangements with other international
TV-stations. In order to make this a truly global event we want to invite
YOU to participate in creating key elements of the central documentary film
– Voices.

Voices will tell the story of the linguistic loss the world is suffering
from the threat of language endangerment. The film takes its point of
departure in a personal talk with UN Sec.-Gen. Mr. Kofi Annan, in his own
mother tongue Fante, expressing his concerns for cultural and linguistic
diversity. But the main elements of the film are to be based on YOUR
contributions. We seek case stories, which pinpoint the stages from language
endangerment to language death. We look for storytellers who can explain
what it feels like to loose one’s language.



We aim to include material from as many different languages as possible in
the film, but we have a limited budget. Thus we are looking for local

You can participate in three different ways. 1. you can submit new material.
2. you can submit material already recorded. 3. you can send us contacts to
speakers of endangered languages. We are looking for charismatic
storytellers who can tell moving personal stories to the world in their own
language. The issues to be covered are:


1. The language generation gap – fx how does it feel to live in a family
where grand parents and grand children find it hard to communicate, because
the language of the older generation was not passed on?

2. The last speakers – fx how does it feel to be among the last few speakers
of a language?

3. Language suppression (economic, social, political, cultural) – fx how do
people cope with situations, when their language is not given space in the
public sphere? What does it mean to a community, if their language is
forbidden or drained of resources?

4. Language and technology – fx how are speakers of endangered languages
affected by globalization and the new information technology?

We are also looking for success stories such as:

5. Language revitalization – fx how did a particular endangered language
community manage to turn the situation around and revitalize their language?

6. Other vital language issues? –  YOU might come up with something
brilliant, which we were not even able to conceptualize – given the
limitations of our language



If you want to participate in “Voices”, please start by sending us an email
introducing yourself, your language or the language you are engaged with.
Please also describe your contribution and in what way you would like to
collaborate with us.

We will then send you more information about the project, more
specifications of what we are looking for and technical requirements. 


Contact:  Voices of the World 

Project manager: Signe Byrge Sørensen

 <mailto:byrge at> byrge at

Forbindelsesvej 7; 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark

Tel: +45 35 43 60 43, Fax: +45 35 43 60 44


Don’t miss this opportunity to present YOUR language as part of the bigger


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