Following the conclusion of the successful 1st Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival which took place in Lanham Maryland from September 1-3, 2017 the organizers of this history making event issued the following Communique on ways and means to keep Igbo Language alive and thriving for future generations:
1. That Parents of all Igbo Children born in the Diaspora must start at an early age to teach Igbo language to their young children. This method has proved successful for other immigrant communities in the world including Chineese, Koreans, Indians Vietnamese, Hispanics and others. Igbo parents can do the same, often Igbo parents fail to teach their young Children Igbo language at home. This is one big factor which makes it harder for Igbo Children born abroad to learn and speak their parent’s language.
2. With the growing number of Igbo language Schools springing up in many countries, Igbo Parents should endeavor to enroll their young children in Igbo Language classes particularly during their off School seasons. Many of the children attending Igbo Schools in the Diaspora have been able to learn and speak Igbo language. It is highly recommended that more Igbo parents should strive to enroll their young kids in Igbo language classes particularly during the summer months when their schools close .
3. Igbo Parents should use available Igbo language resources online to help teach Igbo language to their kids at home. There are many Igbo language resources online which are useful for learning Igbo language. The Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Committee is in the process of putting together comprehensive online Igbo language resources across the world which will be published as soon as such work is completed. We encourage all publishers of online Igbo language resources including news, Television, radio Social Media and others to please send their contacts and website links to email@example.com for global publication.
4. All Igbo adults should form the habit of speaking and holding their conversations among themselves in Igbo language at all times. It does not make any sense that two Igbo adults that understands Igbo language should rather hold conversations in English or a convoluted Engli-Igbo version. Igbos must learn some lessons from other tribes including Yorubas and Hausas who have been more consistent in transmitting their languages to their young children. The truth is that we as Ndigbo are fully responsible for the demise of Igbo language the reason being that we no longer use it in daily conversations. Nobody is marginalizing us on this one.
5. All Igbo Organizations and Associations abroad including those in Igbo land should conduct their meetings and deliberations in Igbo language. If non Igbo speakers are present, English translators may be used . This is a common practice in world meetings involving leaders from different countries. Whereas most world leaders understand and speak English language, they often choose to speak their own languages and English translators are used simultaneously. All Igbo Organizations and Associations must put pressure on their leaders and Executives to adopt Igbo language as an official communications language for their group.
6. More Igbo Language books and authorship is recommended and encouraged . Since the times of F.C. Ogbalu (God Bless him) and other first generation of Igbo language authors, few new books have been written on the Igbo language genre. We encourage those Igbos who are proficient in Igbo language to write more books on this subject. New books would be helpful in explaining and teaching ways young diaspora Igbo children and adults can learn how to speak Igbo language. There is a huge market for such new books.
7. The organizing Committee of the 1st Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival encourages organizers of Igbo ceremonies and events in the Diaspora to employ and inculcate Igbo cultural values with their events and programs. Some progress is being made here because many young Igbo adults born in the diaspora often choose to perform Igbo marriage ceremonies as part of their wedding festivities. More work needs to be done.
8. Lastly we recommend more Diaspora Igbo language conferences, Workshops and Events and Programs on the ways and means of Preservation and Propagation of Igbo Language and Culture. This is our responsibility and no one else would do it for us.
Please Share widely on all your Igbo Social Media Groups. We thank you!