The creation of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) is an initiative of the Government of Mali which has been approved in July 2001 in Lusaka, in Zambia by the Summit of the Heads of States and of Government of the Organization of the African Unity (OAU) with the Decision 63/CM (LXXIV) requesting OAU General Secretariat to do everything to speed up the process of ACALAN’s creation.
Since January 2006, the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union held in Khartoum adopted the basic texts of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN).
Under the aegis of the African Union Commission, the first Session of the Interim Governing Board of ACALAN (IGB) solemnly took place in Addis-Ababa on the 20th and the 21st of June 2006, following the establishment of the members of this Governing Board as well as the Interim Executive Secretary (IES) of ACALAN in their duties.
The African Academy of Languages is a scientific institution which aims at enhancing the status of African Languages in order to promote their use, and to facilitate cultural and socio-economic exchanges between the African States and thus to contribute to the realization of the African Union.
The project of Academy benefits from an important support beyond the African continent. In fact, the International scientific community which it continuously approaches on issues related to culture and to languages, voted through UNESCO in its 31st general Conference in October 2001, a resolution in favor of the African Academy of Languages.
Besides, the Intergovernmental Agency of « Francophonie » (“AIF”) and the Council of Europe also support the Academy’s activities through the organization of workshops and of conferences on African Languages and multilingualism in general.
The article 29 of OAU Charter, stipulated that « the organization’s working languages are, if possible, the African Languages as well as English and French ».
As far as the African Union is concerned, it considers the spirit of this article in the following terms « the working languages of the Union and of all the institutions are if possible, the African Languages as well as Arabic, English, French and Portuguese ».
In 1973, 1987 and 2001, Arabic, then Portuguese and Spanish respectively join English and French as OUA’s working languages. However, it is important to note that despite the adoption in 1986 of the Resolution making of Kiswahili a working language of the panafrican organization, it is only in July 2004 that this language has been used for the first time in the opening ceremony of the 3rd Conference of the African Union’s Heads of States and of Government.
The creation of the African Academy of Languages is the concrete evidence of the Heads of States and of Government’s will which has been expressed several times to promote African Languages.
If in principles the need to enhance the status of African Languages is required, in practice the co-existence of the other languages used in Africa requires an institutional partnership. That is why the name of this Specialized Institution –to-be of the African Union focuses on its panafrican dimension, thus incorporating in addition to the African languages other languages, especially those inherited from colonization, which are from now on part of the historical heritage of Africa, being in most cases the official languages of the African States.
For a successful seminar, a preliminary consultative meeting for an international seminar on partnership between African , English , French , Spanish and Portuguese speaking communities in Bamako, Palais des Congrès, on may 05, 2005.
II. GENERAL OBJECTIVE
To exchange with the various actors on the issue of the relationships between African languages and the European Official languages in Africa.
III. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
- To identify and propose solutions the problems of co-existence between the languages concerned ;
- To draft and validate the Reference Partnership framework between ACALAN and the organizations concerned ;
- To adopt the drafted Declaration ;
- To draft and validate the Action Plan for the promotion of linguistic diversity in Africa ;
- To create a follow up technical Secretariat of the International Seminar.
IV. EXPECTED OUTCOMES
- The main problems of co-existence of the various languages are identified and solutions are proposed ;
- The Reference Partnership framework between ACALAN and the organizations concerned is adopted ;
- The draft Declaration is adopted ;
- The draft Action Plan for the promotion of linguistic diversity in Africa is adopted ;
- A follow up technical Secretariat of the Seminar is created.
The sessions will be carried out in the form of presentations, plenary and group exchanges.
VI. DATE AND VENUE
The date and venue of this International Seminar will communicated in due course.
ACALAN (A.U) –OIF – MALIAN GOVERNMENT