On August 2nd, over 300 hundred young people from all corners of the world will assemble in Wiesbaden, Germany for cultural exchange, learning, and most importantly: a celebration. What they will be celebrating is a constructed language, Esperanto, at the 71st Esperanto Youth Congress. italki is proud to sponsor this event, and support the Esperanto community.
The World Esperanto Youth Organization (Tutmonda Esperantista Junulara Organizo) TEJO, has created the Esperanto Youth Congress (Internacia Junulara Kongreso, or just IJK) to encourage the youth involved in the Esperanto movement to share their experience.
Most importantly, this event allows Esperanto speakers to practice speaking the language within a community, reinforcing the international applicability of the language. Many of the participants may still be starting out in the language; being able to reinforce the acquisition socially, through one-on-one communication in a friendly atmosphere helps preserve and encourage the community around this language.
The IJK started in 1938, in the The Netherlands, and is seeing its 71st iteration. The event has been held in multiple countries, and is the largest such event oriented specifically at encouraging younger speakers to improve and perfect their communicative Esperanto ability, and therefore encourage a new generation of practitioners of the language.
The Youth Congress generally sees several hundred Esperantists, approximately 18 – 35 years of age, who share a passion for “the language of hope” and the ideals of open cross-cultural communication.
italki has sponsored previous events like the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin (http://polyglotberlin.com/) and sees its role in the new language learning environment as that of supporting linguistic diversity, inter-personal learning, and effective, learn-by-doing approaches to education by connecting language learners with fluent or native-speaking teachers of any language, no matter where in the world those students or teachers may be.
Considering that Esperanto is a language without a country, going home after an event can mean leaving the Esperanto community except for online connections. Working together with the event organizers, italki is providing an online community with online teachers, and hopes to encourage enthusiastic new Esperanto speakers to keep practicing what they learned even after the event has finished.
More importantly, the spirit of the Esperanto culture (by nature multi-national, inclusive, and communication-oriented) aligns with the way that italki celebrates language learning and the important human connections that inevitably come with it.
It is italki’s mission to make learning a language an interpersonal, accessible, and affordable experience. Celebrating and supporting the Esperanto community and IJK simply falls within the company’s core beliefs.
Follow the Youth Congress on Twitter: @IJK2015
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