Friday, December 30, 2016

A meeting with ACALAN in Bamako

At the end of last month while in Bamako, Mali, I had the chance to meet with Adama Samassekou, who is currently serving in an advisory capacity with the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), and with the current executive secretariat of ACALAN - Dr. Lang Fafa Dampha, Senior Research and Program Officer, and acting Executive Secretary; Dr. Ojo Babajide Johnson, Senior Program and Project Officer; and Kossi Abassa, Finance and Administrative Officer.

ACALAN's office is now in the Hamdallaye ACI quarter of Bamako - when I previously visited it in May 2008, its office was in Koulouba. The organization is evidently rebuilding, with a search underway for a new executive secretary and other staff to hire. They were also preparing for a two-day meeting of the Technical and Scientific Committee (held 8-9 December), one of the major organs of ACALAN.

Other working structures of ACALAN include Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions for 12 African languages (a structure I mentioned on this blog 3 years ago), and the national language agencies in the various African countries.

They also have a number of projects including on terminology and lexicography, the linguistic atlas of Africa, cyberspace, interpretation and translation, collection of stories, and a graduate program in applied linguistics. While ACALAN is headquartered in Bamako, its Pan-African Center of Interpretation and Translation, and the Terminology and Lexicography Project are based in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

And ACALAN publishes various materials and reports, as well as an academic journal called Kuwala.

The meeting we had last month will hopefully facilitate collaboration in the future. 

It is also worth noting that this year we are about to conclude marks one decade since the ACALAN-sponsored Year of African Languages. That year, 2006, was also the year that ACALAN (founded in 2001) formally became the African Union's specialized language agency.

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