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We’d like to thank our donors for their amazing support of the SOAS Languages Project and update you on its progress.
The Languages Campaign has been extremely successful thanks to such generous supporters. We’re excited to be able to announce that we have now exceeded our original target of £10,000 in just 10 months. This is an amazing achievement and we are so grateful for this support which is having a huge impact on the teaching of languages at SOAS. Donations to this project not only support language teaching at SOAS, but also the digitization project which sustains our collections, protects specialist languages and makes them available to the world.
Languages are at the heart of SOAS and, with your help, they continue to thrive. One example of how this is already having an impact is in the teaching of the Yorùbá language. Ọpẹ́yẹwá Ògúńṣẹ̀ye̩ graduated from SOAS in 2020 with an MA in Language Documentation and Description (Linguistics). Although she is a British-born Nigerian who grew up hearing her language spoken by family members, it was only when she took the SOAS class that she was able to deepen her knowledge of the language, gain confidence in speaking it and contribute to sustaining it.
With the success of the initial crowdfunding project, we are not being complacent and we have now increased the target to £15,000.
We are extremely grateful for all donations from supporters who realise the value of studying languages and look forward to providing further updates as this campaign progresses.
The School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics has received a generous donation from Brooke Beardslee to support the teaching of African languages. The gift will help us to support fractional colleagues and to ensure that Amharic and Zulu will be taught during the next academic year despite the pressures of Covid-19.
African languages have been taught at SOAS since our foundation in 1916 and SOAS is the only UK institution to teach Amharic and Zulu.
Brooke Beardslee said: "As the English language continues to dominate global diplomacy, commerce, academia and so on, so too does our world drift into a kind of homogeneity. Add to this the death of languages, also known as linguicide, happening at a rate of one language lost every two weeks. Language is not just about communicating, it's also about one's identity. With each linguicide, we lose so much. SOAS gets this, however, and as an institution that has historically been at the forefront of language preservation, it is an honor for me to support the continuation of Zulu and Amharic."
Brooke Beardslee is a SOAS alumna (BA Politics 1988 and MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies 2018) and the former President of the American Friends of SOAS.