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UPDATED: 10:43, July 26, 2004
Role of Esperanto never be underestimated: experts
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The role Esperanto plays in promoting linguistic equality, protecting diversity in languages and culture and safeguarding the world's peace can never be underestimated, said John Daniel, an UNESCO official, in a congratulation letter to the 89th International Esperanto Conference, Sunday.

Daniel, assistant doctor-general in educational sector of UNESCO, said that to promote multilingual teaching is of great importance to world peace as language is a tool for international contact and understanding. Esperanto, innovated as an assistant language without specific country or nationality, has contributed a lot to enhancing friendship among different peoples and maintaining a colorful world with diversified cultures.

Noting that UNESCO has been dedicated to this goal since it was founded, Daniel said that UNESCO issued a declaration to protect diversified culture in the year 2000 and, in 2003, a guideline document written in six working languages was published to call for multilingual education. UNESCO also set February 21st as an international festival for native languages.

Some 117 years ago, the Polish doctor Zemenhof founded Esperanto, with the view to eliminating language obstacle in international contact. And now, his descendent L. C. Zaleski-Zamenhof, after hearing this important event, sent a congratulation letter to the conference.

He said language, as a carrier of specific nationality culture,is crucial to the world's equality in a universal sense.

"To use neutral language in international contact could help better protect native languages and cultures," he acknowledged, adding that this annual event fully proved that Esperanto is a neutral language with comprehensive functions.

Penato Corsetti, chairman of the World's Esperanto Association,said the European Union is now facing translation fees that accounted for almost one third of the operation fund.

Only several months ago, the European Parliament drew the lottery to decide whether to use Esperanto as the working language,and those held out for it even reached 43 percent of the total parliament members.

"If EU uses Esperanto as working language, it will set a fine example to the United Nations, which also has the same problem," Corsetti said.

The 89th International Esperanto Conference, scheduled from July 24 to 31, has drawn nearly 2,000 delegates from more than 50 countries and regions.

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