Professor Suzanne Bouclin Awarded Interdisciplinary Grant from Global Young Academy for Research on Saving an Endangered Language in Ethopia

Posted on Thursday, September 6, 2018

Professor Suzanne Bouclin, a CLTS Faculty Member, along with collaborator Binyam Sisay Mendisu, have been awarded the Global Young Academy’s North-South Interdisciplinary Grant for a project that brings together the fields of human rights, new media technologies and linguistics to explore how digital storytelling can help to document vulnerable languages.


Professor Bouclin’s collaborator, Binyam Sisay Mendisu, hails from Addis Ababa Univeristy and UNESCO.  His expertise in linguistics, combined with Professor Bouclin’s expertise in human rights and new media technologies, have given rise to a project that seeks to assess whether Digital Storytelling (DST) may be used as a tool for countering language endangerment in the very unique circumstances of the Arbore people in Ethiopia. 

According to the UNESCO Ad Hoc Expert Group on Endangered Languages, a language is endangered “when it is on a path toward extinction.” The language of the Arbore people is considered highly endangered.  Ethiopia is one of the least connected countries through internet, especially in rural areas where Arbore is spoken. This project suggests that new media technologies are increasingly relevant in areas where access to the internet is partial or limited as they allow digital story creators to document and revitalize elements of their language and culture.  Professor Bouclin and Professor Mendisu will ultimately aim to offer a DST workshop to interdisciplinary scholars working with and for the Arbore people in a train-the-trainer format. 

The project has earned 10,000 Euros from the GYA North-South Interdisciplinary Grant program.  It stands to benefit various local communities and could eventually lead to larger efforts for other marginalized communities in different parts of the world.

The Global Young Academy (GYA) is an international network of young scholars that facilitates opportunities for young researchers to join together to address topics of global importance. Professor Bouclin was awarded membership to the GYA in 2016.  This grant initiative encourages GYA members to innovatively unite different disciplines in search of creative solutions to globally-relevant issues.  


Congratulations to Professor Bouclin!

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