International recognition for outstanding contribution to language preservation


2016 Co-winners are Yambirrpa School Council/Djarrma Action Group of the Yolngu community of Yirrkala in the Northern Territory of Australia, and the International and Heritage Languages Association from Canada.

Two complementary visions of language diversity

This year, the jury made up of forty international experts has decided to award the prize ex aequo to two organizations that are geographically distant and diverse in their approach of promoting diversity. Both, however, share the perseverance and the will to preserve languages that are either threatened in their own territory or are part of the assets of displaced individuals and populations.
One win Yolngu_artner is the Yambirrpa School Council/Djarrma Action Group representing 14 Aboriginal language groups of the Yolngu people of Yirrkala and Laynhapuy in Arnherm Land (Northern Territory, Australia). These institutions carry on the struggle initiated more than 40 years ago by the community elders to convey the cultural and linguistic heritage of their people through bilingual teaching programmes in Yolngu, in steady decline since 1980 due to government action.

Further information on bilingual education in Yolngu at Yirrkala:

Further information on Yolngu language and culture:


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