“Of course, there are those who innocently ask: “Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all spoke the same language?” Wouldn't it be easier for us to get along? “My response is always to say, 'That's a fantastic idea. Let's make that universal language Yoruba, Lakota, or Cantonese. Suddenly, people have an idea of what it would mean to not be able to speak their mother tongue.“ - Dr. Wade Davis, National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence
Colleagues & Collaborators
The American Language Fund, a 501c3 organization based in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, is dedicated to a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to language preservation. Our team of 30 professionals, spanning diverse disciplines such as civil engineering, indigenous leadership, archaeology, linguistics, law, topography, architecture, and economics, operates at the intersection of these fields. Our mission involves utilizing various avenues, including documentary filmmaking and strategic investments in sanitation, water, lighting, hospitals, and language education programs. By embracing innovation and posing unconventional questions, we transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. Our commitment to collective wisdom creates a community-driven environment that fosters collaboration. This collaborative spirit enables us to redefine the frontiers of knowledge and discover transformative solutions in our pursuit of language preservation.
OUR VISION encompasses a global landscape where communities no longer endure the burdensome struggle for mere survival, but instead thrive and possess the agency to shape their own destinies. Guided by this profound vision, the American Language Fund holds in utmost reverence the safeguarding of the invaluable social, cultural, visual, and intellectual legacies inherent within the indigenous and diasporic communities of the Americas. By recognizing the significance of these communities' collective experiences and contributions, we strive to cultivate an environment where their heritage remains intact, cherished, and respected. We firmly believe that the preservation of their rich tapestry of traditions, languages, artistic expressions, and wisdom is not only a moral imperative but also a catalyst for fostering inclusive and sustainable societies. Through the lens of cultural preservation, we aspire to facilitate meaningful dialogue, encourage intercultural exchange, and empower these communities to reclaim their narratives. By amplifying their voices and acknowledging their histories, we aim to challenge existing power structures, rectify historical injustices, and forge pathways towards a more equitable and harmonious coexistence. In our pursuit of these noble objectives, we are driven by the conviction that cultural diversity is an invaluable asset, enriching the fabric of humanity. By embracing the vibrant mosaic of indigenous and diasporic cultures, we not only honor the past but also shape a future where all communities are free to express their identities and contribute to the collective progress of humanity.
"Every time a language dies, it takes with it a unique way of looking at the world, a unique way of understanding and interacting with the environment, and a unique way of being human."
Who We Are Statement
American Language Fund is a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded at Columbia University. Our team of 60 staff members includes civil engineers, indigenous leadership, archeologists, linguists, lawyers, topographers, architects, chefs, and economist experts. We work closely with communities in the Basin of the Bolivian, Peruvian, and Brazilian Amazon in the States of Acre, Rondonia, Amazonas, El Beni, Pando, and Madre de Dios to identify their unique needs and create sustainable solutions that empower them to preserve their languages and cultures.