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Addis Ababa Diplomatic Corps centres Poet, Alexander Pushkin in call for strengthening cultural diversity at Russian language day celebrations

6 June, 2024
Addis Ababa Diplomatic Corps centres Poet, Alexander Pushkin in call for strengthening cultural diversity at Russian language day celebrations

Addis Ababa, 6 June 2024 (ECA)  - The Russian Language Day was commemorated at UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on June 6, 2024. The celebration was graced by attendees from across the Diplomatic Corps, UN agencies and students from the Russian Centre for Science and Culture (Alexander Pushkin Centre) and the wider Russian community in Addis Ababa.

Russian Language Day, established by UNESCO in 2010, is observed annually on June 6th by the United Nations, coinciding with the birthday of Alexander Pushkin, a distinguished Russian poet hailed as the pioneer of modern Russian literature. Pushkin’s works are considered masterpieces, and include the novel: “Eugene Onegin”, and his poem “The Bronze Horseman,” among others.

In his opening remarks, Russian Ambassador Evgeny Terekhin said,“In the poetics of diplomacy, many diplomats remain devoted to poetry, including Alexander Pushkin, the founder of modern Russian language. Today, we have an exceptional opportunity to join this event and once again declare our love for our native language, which is an integral part of both domestic and world history and culture." He said.”

The Ambassador expressed his gratitude to the ECA team, led by Marcel Bolboaca and Marcellin Zounmenu for their cooperation in organizing the event and for the opportunity to come together annually in a traditional and friendly atmosphere to celebrate Russian language day.

For her part, Ms. Chigozirim Bodart, Acting Chief of Staff and Senior Programme Management Officer at the ECA said the Russian language is underpinned by the wealth of its culture and economy, and the importance of the language in international exchanges.“It is a language spoken by over 350 million people - a language of business and science,” she added. As a language of science, “Yuri Gagarin, Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitry Petelin come to mind; as “a language at the heart of arts and literature, who can argue with the works of Alexander Pushkin,” said Ms. Bodart.

To strengthen collaboration, promote a deeper understanding of the Russian culture and bring the language closer to the people and community of Addis Ababa and beyond, Ms. Bodart said ECA, in partnership with the University of Saint Petersburg and the Embassy of the Russian Federation, have launched the online Russian language course at the ECA Language and Career Resources Centre.

Mr. Abdoulaye SALIFOU, Chief Education, Specialist of Higher Education and ICT, UNESCO Liaison Office, underscored the importance of education, which is the 2024 African Union theme of the year and said studying languages is important for cultural diversity, heritage and multilingualism. “This celebration honors the Russian language’s global significance and cultural contributions,”he stressed.

Mr. Sahak Sargsyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Permanent Representative to ECA said celebrating languages strengthens cultural connections, diversity and tolerance and stated, "Russian is the language of a great culture that brings together people and communities across the globe and, of course, at the United Nations.”

Concluding the event, Executive Secretary Claver Gatete said, “Learning each other’s languages helps to unite humanity and value other cultures and traditions. In the world of diplomacy and in the United Nations,  we value learning the basics of each other’s languages to strengthen multilateralism and diversity.”

In addition to statements, the event featured a range of activities including video presentations on Pushkin and the influence of Russian culture in Armenia, performances of traditional songs and poetry, a showcase of Russian traditional customs, as well as a display of Russian attire and cultural performances.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826