‘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.
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Board members of ‘Esperanto Por UN’
Humphrey Tonkin, Co-chair. Professor Emeritus of the Humanities and President Emeritus, University of Hartford (U.S.).
Sara Spanò, Co-chair. PhD in classical philology and literature.
Jon Liechty, Secretary. Musician.
Cesco Reale, Engineer and Communicator, founder of the KomunIKON Project.
François Lo Jacomo, mathematician.
Rakoen Maertens, psychologist.
Hans-Michael Maitzen, Professor Emeritus of astronomy at the University of Vienna.
Francesco Maurelli, Professor in robotics and autonomous systems.
Ileana Schrøder, Danish Esperanto-Association.
Giuliano Turone, Professor of law at the Catholic University of Milan, former judge in the Italian Court of Appeals.
Rafaela Urueña, Professor Emerita of international law and international relations at the University of Valladolid, Spain.
Humphrey Tonkin, chief representative of UEA to UN. Humphrey is a former president of the University of Hartford, USA, and former president of UEA.
Francis M. Hult, official representative of UEA to UN. Professor in the Department of Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (U.S).
Ulrich Becker, official representative of UEA to UN. Ulrich is a graphic designer and publisher.
Sofiya Soskina, official representative of UEA to UN. Sofiya is a retired specialist in computer science and works for Unicef, the UN foundation for children.
Steve Eichblatt, Physicist.
Charles Mays, Engineer.
Jonathan Reeve, researcher specializing in computational literary analysis.
Anna Bennett, retired Certified Public Accountant.
Rafael Lima, editor of the blog un-esperante.
Jon Liechty, musician.
Hans-Michael Maitzen, Professor Emeritus of astronomy at the University of Vienna.
Alfred Heiligenbrenner, President of the Austrian Esperanto Federation.
François Lo Jacomo, mathematician; Chair
Barbara Despiney, retired economist.
Didier Loison, public adminstrator.
Renée Triolle, retired teacher.
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 to UN and Unesco
Valentin Ceretto Bergerat
Alejandro Burgos Escalante
Universal Esperanto Association (UEA) and the World Esperanto Youth Organization (TEJO) hosted a side event at the 10th Economic and Social Council Youth Forum. The event, “Linguistic Rights and Young People: Challenges and Opportunities”, happened on the 6th of April 2021.
Rakoen Maertens (Belgium/Britiain) talks about representing UEA and TEJO to 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 to the United Nations and Unesco.
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.
Our aims and how we achieve them
‘Esperanto Por UN’ has three main aims:
- to represent the interests of the Esperanto movement to 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
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.
The Sustainable Development Goals: The Art of Translating Words into Change. 30 October 2015
Commentary on the Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030.
Guide to the 17 Goals for Sustainable Development in Esperanto translation.
Discrimination on Grounds of Language: The Importance of Individual Language Rights. 15 July 2016
“Our Association believes that linguistic diversity and linguistic understanding can co-exist.”
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.