NGO Committee on Language and Languages Elects New Executive Board

Photo: IYIL 2019

New York, USA | 24 May 2022 (CoNGO InfoNews) – An NGO Committee on Language and Languages has been established in New York under the auspices of CoNGO, the Conference of Nongovernmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.  Some 23 NGOs have joined as founding members of the committee, which aims to give greater attention to language issues in the policies, practice and outreach of the United Nations, especially as these relate to the overall importance of language, linguistic justice, and linguistic non-discrimination.

The by-laws of the new committee were approved at a May 18 meeting and an executive board elected. The meeting featured briefings by UNESCO personnel on the organization’s programmes in the field of languages, particularly multilingual education, the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, and the new World Atlas of Languages.

Francis M. Hult and Humphrey Tonkin, representatives of the Universal Esperanto Association to the UN, were elected as chair and vice-chair respectively. Francis Hult is Professor Education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and Humphrey Tonkin is President Emeritus of the University of Hartford.

Elected as secretary was Linda Fitchett, former president of the International Association of Conference Interpreters. Hans E. Becklin, of the Esperanto youth organization TEJO, was elected as treasurer. Daniel LeBlanc, of VIVAT International, and Allison Rodriguez, of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) were elected as at-large members of the board.

The work of the committee actually began before the formal May 18 meeting: in December 2021, the committee founders sponsored a briefing meeting with the UN Coordinator for Multilingualism, Under Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management, H.E. Mr. Movses Abelian, the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, and the Deputy Director of the News and Information Branch of the Department of Global Communications, Ms. Mita Hosali. The committee, along with a number of other organizations, also sponsored a symposium on “Multilingualism and COVID-19: Lessons Learned and Looking Forward” on May 3 and 4, 2022.


For information about this statement and the work of the NGO Committee on Language and Languages, email its Chair, Francis M. Hult ( Visit to learn more about the work of CoNGO and its substantive committees.