Volume 9, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0272-2690
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9889
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Portuguese in Unesco?Recommendation 73 of the World Conference on Cultural Policies (Mexico City, 1982) dealt with Portuguese and other languages, calling on the director-general of Unesco to promote study of the possible use of Portuguese as a working language in the organization. Six reasons were given, including the fact that Portuguese is now the official language of seven member-states, that it is used also in various forms in other parts of the world, that it is a language that bridges cultural and racial diversity, and that it is already an official language of the Organization of American States.At the Unesco General Conference in 1983, representatives of three Portuguese-speaking countries addressed the session in Portuguese, and the representative of Portugal specifically called for the introduction of Portuguese as a working language. Currently there are three categories of languages at Unesco: the official languages of the General Conference, eight in number; the working languages of the General Conference and the Executive Board, of which there are six; and the working languages of the offices (English and French are those of headquarters).A recent Unesco document dealing with the introduction of Portuguese and other working languages calculates the cost of introducing a new working language at between $4,421,000 and $6,521,100 per biennium for limited use (i.e., translation of certain documents and provision of interpretation in certain meetings) and between $13,889,500 and $18,520,600 for use on a par with the other working languages. While the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations has warned against the costs involved in introducing further languages into the UN system, the director-general has tended to favor a somewhat more egalitarian approach to the problem, emphasizing the necessity to weigh such considerations as cultural values against the purely utilitarian question of cost.


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