The past year has been a particularly busy and successful year for the Esperantic Studies Foundation. This year, our North American Esperanto Institute (NASK) was extremely well attended; we were significant contributors of scholarships to the Adam Mickiewicz University graduate program in Esperanto and Interlinguistics (Poznan); and we continued to support Edukado.net, the leading international website for Esperanto teachers. We have supported conferences in the United States, Italy, and Slovakia, and we have provided financing for an internship at the New York office of the Universal Esperanto Association. New York was also the site of an ESF-supported symposium on language and development aimed at raising the awareness of the United Nations about the importance of language equality for human development and human rights. Our research program has helped support new research tools, such as the History of Esperanto Literature, and a sociological study of the Universal Esperanto Association.
Our twin goals are to support research on Esperanto and language issues generally, and also to provide Esperanto-related education programs. We work through a ten-member board and an advisory committee of some thirty experts in language policy, language planning, and related fields. We choose our research topics carefully, supporting recognized scholars engaged in significant work; and our education programs are among the best and most up-to-date anywhere in the world. No other organization in or close to the Esperanto movement has a stronger program of support for first-rate research and the provision of important services to speakers of Esperanto. We are helped by the strength of our board. One of our newer members, Esther Schor, of Princeton University, is the author of Bridge of Words: Esperanto and the Dream of a Universal Language (2016), which has received a great deal of positive press in recent weeks; Mark Fettes, another member, is president of the Universal Esperanto Association; I myself have co-edited a special issue of the journal INDECS this year, on The Phenomenon of Esperanto; another, Derek Roff, works closely with CALICO, the Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium, where ESF sponsors a high-visibility annual award.
As 2016 comes to a close and 2017 begins, we’re looking at some pretty significant changes in the world and also in the Esperanto movement. The Foundation is working hard to understand these changes and to maximize opportunities to advance not only Esperanto but concern for languages and language diversity in the world. While traditional Esperanto organizations work to maintain their positions, the Esperanto-speaking community as a whole is expanding rapidly and ESF is playing a vital role in that expansion. Keeping the momentum going means moving fast and decisively.
Some years ago, the Foundation was there to assist in launching Lernu.net, a program that now has some 230,000 registered members, with the website completely redesigned this year; we are closely following social media as the numbers of speakers and users of Esperanto multiply on Facebook and elsewhere, and through Duolingo. While once upon a time users of Esperanto had to sign up with a traditional Esperanto organization to get access to the Esperanto community, today they can bypass these organizations and become active users of Esperanto immediately. At ESF we are working to assess the impact of these newcomers to Esperanto and to engage them as actively as possible in the practical use of the language.
Thanks to the strong support that we receive from the Esperanto-speaking community and beyond, we are able to respond. As our budget grows and our reach expands, it is vital that we build further support. Please help us continue one of the most successful and far-reaching organizations in the Esperanto world today. We hope that you will be one of the contributors to the Foundation at this crucially important time. Thank you for your support in 2016 and your continued support for our efforts in 2017. Happy holidays!