Esperanto and the University: Nitobe Symposium (Lisbon, 4-5 August 2018)

The next Nitobe Symposium will take place in Lisbon on August 4-5 (Saturday and Sunday), 2018, on the topic “Teaching and Research on Esperanto in the Context of Interlinguistics, Sociolinguistics, and the Social Sciences.”

Sponsoring organizations
The symposium organizer is the Centre for Research and Documentation on World Language Problems (CED), with the support of the Esperantic Studies Foundation (ESF). Thanks to this support, there will be no registration fee. ESF will also provide refreshments and a special dinner. The symposium will take place at the University of Lisbon.

Symposium venue
We expect that the symposium will take place in the Reitoria da Universidade de Lisboa, Alameda da Universidade, 1649-004 Lisbono, Portugal.

The symposium will commence in the early afternoon of Saturday and will conclude at around 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 5.

In honour of the memory of the famous Japanese diplomat Nitobe Inazo, who in 1921 attended the World Esperanto Congress in Prague as deputy secretary-general of the League of Nations and favourably reported on the role of Esperanto in solving international communication problems, the first Nitobe Symposium of international organizations on language for international peace and democracy was organized in parallel with the 81st World Esperanto Congress in Prague in 1996. Since then, similar symposia have taken place in conjunction with the World Congress in Berlin in 1999 (on globalization and linguistic diversity), in Beijing in 2004 (on a new international linguistic order), in Vilnius in 2005 (on language policy aspects of the expansion of the European Union), in Tokyo in 2007 (on European languages and Asian nations), and in Reykjavik in 2013 (on English-medium instruction in non-English-speaking universities).

The topic of this year’s Nitobe Symposium 
In 2018, in the context of this year’s World Congress, the topic will be the role of Esperanto and interlinguistics in teaching and research on linguistuics and the social sciences in general – and vice versa (i.e. the role of linguistics and the social sciences in teaching and research on Esperanto and interlinguistics).

Goals and results
The first and primary goal will be to convene academics who already study and teach Esperanto and interlinguistics or are interested in the topic in the context of their own teaching or research in linguistics, sociolinguistics, language policy, or the social sciences generally. A second goal is to address these topics with teachers and researchers interested in working together in the future to strengthen and prioritize the field. In this context, Angela Tellier (University of Liverpool) will be presented as the newly appointed international coordinator of university contacts for ESF and for CED.

This will be a working conference, aimed at reducing the isolation of academics working in the field and stimulating collaboration. As a result, the number of formal papers will be kept to a minimum, and following each of them there will be time for active discussion among participants. At the same time, ESF has commissioned from Juan Diego Díaz Bautista (Seville) a report on the present state of university-based teaching and research in Esperanto and interlinguistics worldwide, which will be presented during the symposium and will include a preliminary analysis of the needs and wishes of those teachers and researchers engaged with Esperanto and the university.

Esperanto and English will be the working languages of the symposium, with a limited role also for Spanish and Portuguese.

Principal Presenters
To introduce the topic, two specialists will give keynote addresses. On the one hand, Sabine Fiedler (University of Leipzig) will offer an overview of the current state of studies and research, including strengths and weaknesses (fields well covered, and fields in particular need of further exploration), i.e. Esperanto in the context of the social sciences. On the other hand, Roberto Garvía (Carlos III University, Madrido) will discuss the inclusion of Esperanto-related elements in broader social science courses, and particularly the whole field of research into the early history of the Esperanto movement, i.e. the ways in which the phenomenon of Esperanto can be applied to the social sciences.  In addition, Duncan Charters will present the extensive experience of ILEI, the International League of Esperanto Teachers, in this field, including the results of the League’s 2018 conference due to take place in Madrid, Spain, in July. Finally, Vicente Manzano-Arrondo (University of Seville) will present the first results of new research on perceptions of the spread of English in several European countries which are relevant to the symposium topic in numbers of ways.

The symposium is by invitation only. Those interested should contact Javier Alcalde: 

Comments are closed