A colloquium on Ladino at UNESCOParis - On the 31st of March 1492, the Spanish Reconquista hardly over, the Catholic kings signed an edict which obliged all Jews to either become Christians or to leave the kingdom.
Two hundred thousand Spanish Jews chose exile. They were forbidden from taking any gold or silver with them, but left with a treasure far more important : their language.
The Sephardim settled mainly around the Mediterranean Basin. In cities such as Jerusalem, Salonika, Sofia, Constantinople or Smyrna, were born Judeao-Spanish communities which jealously protected the cultural heritage of their Spanish forebears.
The Ladino language, based on 16th century Spanish, lives on but only just.
The permanent delegations of 11 UNESCO Member States* have organized a colloquium on the future of the Ladino language and culture, which will be held at UNESCO Headquarters on June 17 and 18. Participants will look at the precarious situation of the language, the role of the media and education in the transmission of Ladino, and Judeao-Spanish intangible heritage such as songs, tales, proverbs, poetry and gastronomy.
About 30 specialists from 13 countries will take part in the colloquium.
*Bulgaria, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Turkey.
The colloquium will open on June 17 at 9.30 a.m., Room IV.
For more information and the complete programme, contact Lucia Iglesias Kuntz, Bureau of Public Information, Editorial Section, Tel : 01 45 68 47 28