UAJK, USEFP launch project to save endangered languages

MUZAFFARABAD: The Vice-Chancellor University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Professor Dr. Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi has said that the centuries-old history, civilization, and culture of the region should be preserved and passed on to the next generations by preserving the Kashmiri vernaculars.

He was addressing the inaugural session of the International Training Workshop on Language Documentation under the Project Capacity Building Training Program for faculty of public sector universities in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan here on Monday.

“The UAJK will launch diploma courses for the preservation and promotion of Kashmiri language and culture and will take all possible steps to save other regional languages from extinction, the Vice-Chancellor announced.

Dr. Abbasi further said that language is not the name of just a dialect but it has the whole culture, way of life, economy, and civilization in its background. “When a tongue perishes, it erases with it all the treasures of culture, civilization, and historical events associated with it”, he added.

He congratulated the Department of English for initiating this important training program to enhance the capacity of the faculty to document the regional language for the academics of public sector universities in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The Vice-Chancellor particularly thanked the management of the US-Pakistan University Partnership Grant Program for their cooperation in realizing the potential threats to the existence of local languages being spoken in different parts of the state and Gilgit-Baltistan.

In her opening address, Registrar Prof. Dr. Ayesha Sohail thanked all the individuals and institutions, especially the American Educational Foundation, for their keen interest and support in documenting the endangered languages of the region.

She said that the Institute of Languages of UAJK since its inception in 2009 has been focusing on linguistic diversity and cultural preservation as well as promoting joint efforts among local experts and linguists.

Dr. Ayesha added that the institute has organized several conferences in the past in which a large number of linguists from Pakistan, abroad, and both parts of the divided state participated.

The Project Director Prof. Dr. Abdul Qadir Abbasi told the participants that the extinction of regional languages is not limited to Kashmir, Pakistan, or India but is a global issue.

He added that the program would particularly address the threats posed to the local, and regional languages and make recommendations for practical measures that would be useful for language teachers, students, and researchers.

Dr. Qadir expressed his deep gratitude to the national and international delegates for their participation and especially appreciated the support of the American Educational Foundation in this regard.

Former Vice-Chancellor of Central University of Jammu Prof. Dr. Ashok Aima, Representative of US Education Foundation Shahram Niazi, Dr. Chris Donlay of San Jose State University USA, Prof. Dr. Henrik of Stockholm University Sweden also addressed the opening session of the workshop virtually.

Later the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Kaleem Abbasi and others cut the cake to formally inaugurate the workshop.

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