‘Esperanto Por UN’ is an international group of Esperantists who are trying to strengthen ties between the UN and the Esperanto movement. Our organisation is led by a president and a board and works in conjunction with the Universal Esperanto Association; teams of co-workers are in New York City, Geneva, Vienna and Paris. Read about our members, goals and positions below, and about the work of the UN.

Read more about

Our team

Board members of ‘Esperanto Por UN’

Humphrey Tonkin, Co-chair
Sara Spanò, Co-chair
Jon Liechty, Secretary
Stefano Keller
François Lo Jacomo
Rakoen Maertens
Hans-Michael Maitzen

Francesco Maurelli
Ileana Schrøder

Giuliano Turone, professor of law at the Catholic University of Milan, former judge in the Italian Court of Appeals.
Rafaela Urueña, retired professor of international law and international relations at the University of Valladolid, Spain.

Humphrey Tonkin, chief representative of UEA at UN. Humphrey is a former president of the University of Hartford, USA, and former president of  UEA.
Ulrich Becker, official representative of the UEA at the UN. Ulrich is a graphic designer and publisher.
Sofiya Soskina, official representative of the UEA at the UN. Sofiya is a retired specialist in computer science and works for Unicef, the UN foundation for children.
Steve Eichblatt
Charles Mays
Jonathan Reeve
Anna Bennett
Rafael Lima,
editor of the blog un-esperante. 
Donato Valdivia
Francis Hult
Jon Liechty,
musician

Hans-Michael Maitzen, retired professor of astronomy at the University of Vienna.

Norina Florineth, social pedagogue.

François Lo Jacomo, mathematician; Chair

Barbara Despiney, retired economist.

Didier Loison

Renée Triolle, retired teacher.

Stefano Keller, chief representative of the UEA at the UN in Geneva. Stefano is a psychopedagogue, language instructor, and former staff member at the central office of  UEA.

Nicole Margot

Cesco Reale

Adrian Tanner

The TEJO team for the UN and Unesco

TEJO (Tutmonda Esperantista Junulara Organizo ~ World Esperanto Youth Organisation) also works to and acts within UN and Unesco:

Rakoen Maertens Chief representative for TEJO at the UN and Unesco
Charlotte Scherping Larsson
Oleksandra Kovjazina
Spyros Papadatos
Valentin Ceretto Bergerat
Alejandro Burgos Escalantk

TEJO took part in the youth forum of the United Nations, ECOSOC, in April 2019.  Read the programme, with mention of TEJO and the keynote address by Rakoen Maertens.

A delegation of seven Esperanto speakers represented TEJO during the youth forum of the United Nations,  ECOSEC, in New York. 

The delegation was very well received; TEJO’s presence was a great success.

The TEJO-delegation comprised, in addition to Rakoen Maertens, Francesco Maurelli, Saŝa Murr, Sara Spanò, Marcus Griep, Hans Becklin and Cassidy Walker.

 Rakoen Maertens was the keynote speaker during the closing ceremony; António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, was amongst those watching Rakoen’s presentation.

Rakoen Maertens (Belgium/Britiain) talks about representing UEA and TEJO at the United Nations and Unesco. His presentation links to the Festival theme: UN at 75: dialogue and international understanding in a changing world. 

The UN at 75: Representing UEA and TEJO at the United Nations ans Unesco. 

Our aims and how we achieve them

‘Esperanto Por UN’ has three main aims:

  • to represent the interests of the Esperanto movement at the United Nations and its specialised bodies
  • to introduce Esperanto into the UN’s activities
  • to build support for the UN and UNESCO in the Esperanto movement and educate Esperantists about the structure of the UN and the work that it does
  • attend meetings and other UN and UNESCO events pertaining to language and related questions
  • write and publish translations of UN and UNESCO documents in Esperanto
  • release a bimonthly newsletter about our activity, available in Esperanto, English, and French
  • organize symposia and other events at the UN in collaboration with other organizations
  • distribute information about the UN in Esperanto publications and at conventions and other events, and encourage Esperantists to get engaged with the UN
  • remain in contact with UN and UNESCO offices responsible for non-governmental organisations
  • staff a small office in New York City as a base of operations

Our Positions

We often have the opportunity to present the positions of the Universal Esperanto Association (UEA – learn more here) to UN officials and non-government organizations on various aspects of the UN’s work. To that end, we publish occasional position papers.

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal number 4: Quality education for all. 

Global Citizenship Education plays a key role in addressing current challenges. It encourages us to act responsibly in our lives and communities. It helps us understand that our challenges are connected, and so are the solutions.

Dean, Andiswa and Juan build peaceful communities in Cape Town, South Africa, through dialogue, music and dance.

Goal 4 – Quality Education

Relations between the UN and NGOs

UEA is in special consulting relations with the United Nations. It is represented in many UN meetings and maintains contacts with national UN organisations.

International non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can formally associate with the United Nations in two ways:

1. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN collaborates with many NGOs, classed into three levels of collaborator status. According to its web site, “The basis for consulting relations between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations was presented in the mid-1990’s after detailed intergovernmental review, which resulted in ECOSOC-resolution 1996/31. This relationship is the main way in which ECOSOC receives contributions from NGOs in its debates and public meetings and in its subsidiary structures, as well as in international conferences of the UN and its preparatory structures… [The NGOs] have certain privileges to submit topics to the agenda of ECOSOC and its subsidiary structures; they are permitted to attend meetings, where they can present written and give oral presentations to the governments.”

There are three categories of these consulting relations: Large NGOs whose work broadly relates to that of the UN have General Consulting Relations. NGOs whose work is less directly related to that of the UN have Special Consulting Relations. The third category are those NGOs that appear on the list of ECOSOC. The UEA has Special Consulting Relations. All NGOs must undergo a rigorous examination process in order to be recognized by ECOSOC, and remain in active collaboration.

2. The Department of Public Information (DPI), whose office is located in New York City, recognises NGOs that agree to help disseminate information about the UN throughout the world. Currently, 1,300 NGOs are formally connected to DPI, among which is the UEA. DPI organises regular information meetings for NGOs, and also an annual conference (in 2016 it occurred in Korea; UEA was represented by a two person delegation). Its information centre is open to NGOs, and it facilitates the formation of partnerships between the UN and NGOs on issues of shared interest.
The NGOs in collaboration with ECOSOC have their own organisation, CoNGO (Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations), of which the UEA is also a member. The UEA is also a member of the CoNGO Committee on Education, Learning, and Literacy, which works mainly out of New York City, and the Committee on Peace, which works mainly in Vienna. The NGOs linked to the DPI also have their own committee, with which UEA actively collaborates.
UEA has an official link to UNESCO in the category of operational relations. UEA is represented in UNESCO meetings and often is able to advise or collaborate on issues of shared interest.

Learn more about the UN

To learn more, first visit the web site of the UN, which exists in the six official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish).

For other languages you can look for web sites of national UN associations (you can find a list at wfuna.org), as well as regional sites which exist in many languages. For example, unric.org lists sites in 13 western European languages.

More about the history of language at the UN.

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