Addis Ababa, 6 June 2018 (ECA) - The UN Russian Language Day celebration was held at the ECA Conference Centre on June 6. United Nations staff, representatives of the Russian Embassy, the Russian Centre for Science and Culture (Alexander Pushkin Centre), and the Russian community in Addis Ababa attended the event.
In a statement read on his behalf, Mr. Collen Kelapile, ECA Chief of Staff, said that it was an honor and privilege for the ECA to be observing the significance of Russian as one of the six official working languages of the UN for the first time in Addis Ababa.
“Today’s activity is ample demonstration of the active involvement and commitment of all Departments and Offices to multilingualism as a core value of the United Nations,” he added.
“Our newly established partnership on today’s initiative with your mission is exemplary in this regard because it demonstrates how much can be done together to promote not only multilingualism or Russian language, but also other aspects of your culture.”
He said that ECA hopes to continue to develop other initiatives that foster multilingualism within the UN system, and more so, expand the teaching of Russian language in Africa with their collective support.
For his part, Mr. Vyacheslav A. Konnik, Director of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Addis Ababa, expressed his appreciation for co-hosting the event, “on the birthday of the great Russian poet, writer and founder of the Russian literary language, Alexander Pushkin”.
UN Russian Language Day is observed annually on June 6 at the United Nations and coincides with the birthday of Alexander Pushkin, the great Russian poet who is considered the father of modern Russian literature. Pushkin’s works are considered masterpieces, and include the novel in verse “Eugene Onegin”, and his poem “The Bronze Horseman” amongst others.
Founded after the 2nd world war in 1945 by the Soviet government and Emperor Haile Selassie who granted land and other facilities, the Addis Ababa Alexander Pushkin Center is amongst the oldest in the world and has taught the Russian language for the past 70 years in Ethiopia. There are 81 Russian cultural center around the world, as part of the Russian government policy to promote, honor and expand the Russian language, stated Mr. Konnik.
He invited staff members to attend the Russian language courses and other services offered at the Center, including Russian dance lessons.
The colorful celebration included a presentation of a report on “Russian Language in the world and its promotion in Ethiopia”, traditional Russian dances, an exhibition of Russian language books, a presentation of souvenirs and a FIFA exhibition as Russia hosts the FIFA World Cup this year. Staff members were also treated to a Russian samovar tea ceremony, an important element of Russian culture, ‘a secret Russian weapon’ as Mr. Konnik described it.
Language Days at the United Nations seek to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization. Under the initiative, UN duty stations around the world celebrate six separate days, each dedicated to one of the Organization's six official languages.
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