Friday, July 9, 2010
Peace Corps sponsored seminar at the Library
On June 25th and 26th the Gasprinskiy Library hosted a gathering of librarians from across Crimea to discuss and learn about Crimean Tatar language and literature. Funded by a USAID grant I obtained through the Peace Corps (a grant program that is open to all Peace Corps Volunteers known as the Small Program Assistance ---SPA), the purpose of the seminar was to raise awareness of the state of Crimean Tatar language—it is now listed with UNESCO as one of the world’s disappearing languages—and to promote tolerance and understanding among the ethnic groups of Crimea. In the second phase of the project, we will help the participating librarians conduct similar seminars in their own regions.
The Simferopol training/seminar was a rousing success. Twenty-five librarians attended, representing all the regions of Crimea. Experts from the Crimean Engineering and Pedagogical University and the Ministry of Culture and Arts of Crimea provided training and lectures on Crimean Tatar language and literature. The Gasprinskiy staff provided the participants with a wealth of materials for their libraries, including biographies of famous Crimean Tatar writers and artists. We were also to provide each library with a copy of the new—and only—dictionary of Crimean Tatar/Ukrainian/Russian.
I presented a short presentation on my work at the library and talked about the role of the Peace Corps in community development. And, of course, I promoted the advantages of having a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to one’s library. I know the community development program of Peace Corps Ukraine would like to partner with more libraries. It is a perfect fit for promoting the goals of the Peace Corps of providing technical assistance and mutual understanding and respect between the peoples of America and Ukraine.