UN family in Ethiopia marks Chinese Language Day amid call for strong multilingualism

(Xinhua) 13:58, May 06, 2021

ADDIS ABABA, May 5 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations family in Ethiopia on Wednesday marked the Chinese Language Day with an aim to promote Chinese language and culture by upholding the notion of multilingualism.

The Chinese language commemoration event, which was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the Chinese Mission to the African Union (AU), was held virtually due to COVID-19 concerns.

The commemoration event featured presentations on the Chinese language and culture in Africa, lecture on Chinese intangible cultural heritage protection, traditional Chinese dance and personal experience of Chinese culture and language by young African students.

Orlando Crosby, English language editor at the UNECA and translator of documents from Chinese, French, and Spanish to English, said that commemoration of the Chinese Language Day manifests the growing multilingualism embracing the Chinese language and culture.

"We at the ECA wish that, going forward, our multilingualism partnership will grow in strength and extend beyond language day celebrations to encompass the numerous areas, in which China has an import ant role to play," Crosby added.

The Chinese language is one of the six languages of the United Nations. The other five are Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Liu Yuxi, Head of the Chinese Mission to the AU, on his part emphasized the vital imperative of multilingualism towards building culturally and linguistically connected societies, in which the commemoration of the Chinese language in partnership with the UN is serving as an important platform for cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.

"Chinese is the language used by the largest population and one of the six working languages of UN. I hope more people can enjoy the charm of Chinese language and culture," Liu told the online gathering.

According to the Confucius Institute at the Addis Ababa University, the Chinese Language Day celebration events could be seen as an important platform in creating awareness of the Chinese language in particular and Chinese culture in general to the rest of the world.

The United Nations family in Ethiopia annually commemorates the Chinese Language Day in line with the decision by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) back in 2010 to mark the Chinese Language Day on April 20.

The decision envisaged celebrating multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of the UN's official working languages throughout the organization's structure and activities.

April 20 was chosen as the Chinese Language Day to pay tribute to Cangjie, a mythical figure claimed to have invented Chinese characters.

This year's edition of the Chinese Language Day commemoration event organized by the UNECA and the Chinese Mission to the AU was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was noted.

(Web editor: Guo Wenrui, Liang Jun)


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