Organizers

Anjuman Taraqi Khowar

AnjumanTaraqqi Khowar (ATK), founded by the literary people of Chitral in 1956 is one of the oldest literary organizations of northern Pakistan. The purpose of the establishment of ATK was to provide a platform to Chitrali poets and men of letters so that they could work for the promotion of Khowar language and literature. Since its inception, ATK has held hundreds of poetry recital symposia, workshops, seminars and conferences; and has published around hundred books in Khowar language. Most importantly, ATK has hosted two international conferences: “the 2nd and 3rd International Hindukush Cultural Conferences”, in 1990 and 1995 respectively, in Chitral.   ATK is registered with the government of Pakistan and has 22 chapters (halqa-jaat) in different villages/areas of Chitral, as well as in major cities of the country.

Forum for Language Initiatives

The Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI) is a non-profit and non-government research organization based in Islamabad and works for the preservation and promotion of indigenous languages in Northern Pakistan. Northern Pakistan is home to nearly 30 distinct languages, many of them with a relatively small number of speakers. Due to lack of institutional support many of these languages have been under the threat of extinction. The Forum for Language Initiatives (FLI) was established in 2002 with the goal of preserving these languages by building capacity among the people from local communities in the area of language documentation, multilingual education, literature production and organizational development.

In addition, FLI also publishes books about the languages and cultures of the region, runs advocacy campaigns for the language communities and builds bridges among people in the region. External linguists, anthropologists and specialists, in the areas of multilingual education and management, work as mentors and master trainers. They trained a core group of people from the language groups (LGs) through both long and short duration training interventions. Despite of many challenges, FLI has made significant progress towards achieving the goals in its first 15 years.

The situation as whole in the country and among these language communities is very different from the way it was back in 2002. Many trainees of FLI are actively involved in preserving and developing their mother tongues. Some have formed community-based organizations and established mother tongue-based education programs, and one of the provincial governments (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) has passed a bill to establish a government department to develop the languages in the province. The KP government also formulated its cultural policy this year. Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly has taken up the task to preserve and promote the regional languages of Gilgit-Baltistan and very positive initiatives are being carried out.FLI trained a number of people from the language communities as facilitators. These people further trained and passed on their enhanced skills to other people in their communities, other community people, university students and faculty members