Celebration of multilingual Canberra in 2013 Your ideas please

Celebration of multilingual Canberra in 2013  Your ideas please

I would like to raise with you an idea for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Canberra in 2013. The idea is to design and install a lasting monument in central Canberra which celebrates the city’s multilingual past, present and future. This could take the form of a statue, mural or mosaic. It would be a powerful symbol of the role of languages spoken in the ACT region in the past (including Aboriginal languages of course), today, and the importance of languages and communication for the future of Canberra as a cosmopolitan and international city and national capital.

By involving ethnic communities, indigenous Australians, embassies, international students and the many learners of other languages at school and tertiary level, the project would meet the majority of the goals of the centenary celebrations, which are to

• Increase the pride and ownership of Australians in their capital.
• Fully engage the community of Canberra, the Capital region, and the broader Australian community in the celebrations.
• Establish enduring international recognition of Canberra, and its role as the capital.
• Build the positive image and reputation of Canberra as a city and community.
• Build lasting legacies of community value through memorable celebrations and high quality projects.
• Create impetus for future development of the National Capital.

The inspiration for this idea came from a fantastic languages statue in Vancouver, Canada. As you can see from www.flickr.com/photos/briantolin/5060926140/in/set-72157624991706561/ this incorporates the alphabets and characters of many languages. I am indebted to Kristina Collins of the ACT Department of Education and training for bringing this statue to our attention. Another recent language-inspired construction was the Korean pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, which was based on the shapes of the letters of the Korean alphabet.

The Canberra Multicultural Community Forum would like to put forward the idea of a languages monument to the Chief Minister and the Canberra Project 100 Team. However, I think our idea would receive more attention if we could cite the support of various institutions, organizations, groups and individuals. Please let me know what you think, any ideas for how to realize this project, and if we could cite you or your organization’s name as a supporter of the proposal.

Best wishes

Mandy Scott

Convenor, Canberra Region Languages Forum

PS For those who are interested, please contact with Mandy about the idea at mandy.scott@anu.edu.au

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