WiStem President Kodou Jeng calls for the promotion of African Languages and Culture

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Kodou Jeng, President of Women in STEM Gambia

The President of Women in STEM Gambia and a member of the African Languages Week Coordinating Committee (ALWCC)  has called on Africans to embrace their language and promote cultural diversity.

She was speaking as part of events marking the African Languages Week, scheduled from February 21 to 28, 2024, which is an annual event initiated by the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), which is an African Union specialized language agency under the leadership of Dr. Lang Fafa Dampha to raise awareness and appreciation for African languages.

Kodou Jeng, a member of the African Languages Week Coordinating Committee (ALWCC), provides insights into the event’s origins, purpose, and the changes made to its schedule.

Initially set for January, the dates were changed to February 21-28 due to logistical challenges and to align with the United Nations Mother Language Day. This decision was unanimously adopted by the Specialized Technical Committee, Youth, Culture, and Sport and endorsed by the Heads of State and Government.

ACALAN, as the specialized language agency of the African Union, played a pivotal role in proposing and launching the African Languages Week. Kodou Jeng explains the efforts in formulating proposals for adopting the week and Kiswahili as a Working Language of the AU. The event was officially launched in collaboration with the Government of Burkina Faso in July 2021.

The commemoration involves a continental standing committee, the African Languages Week Coordinating Committee (ALWCC), where Kodou Jeng plays a vital role as a member. The ALWCC is tasked with proposing themes and mobilizing resources. The theme for 2024 is “Empowering African Languages for Quality Education and Free Trade,” with identified sub-themes and critical activities to achieve the theme’s objectives.

Kodou Jeng emphasizes the importance of promoting African languages and cultures, highlighting the need for cultural development as a pillar for sustainable development. She and other committee members urge leaders to support efforts to develop and promote African values and cultures.

 The African Languages Week, under the guidance of committee members including Kodou Jeng, serves as a significant annual event to empower African languages, integrate them into various domains, and foster cultural development for the sustainable progress of the continent.

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