1887 was the year when the Polish linguistic and doctor, Ludwik Lazarus Zamenhof, decided to do something about this. His initiative was a language that he called “Esperanto”. Esperanto is now over 125 years old and it is the world’s most spoken constructed auxiliary language. The word “Esperanto” itself translates to “the one who hopes”.
The aim of creating such a language was not to compete with other widely spoken languages. Its goals actually go beyond that. Because of its neutrality, no country and no people will be favoured at the expense of another. It is considered to be a simple, effective and easy solution to fight misunderstandings and miscommunication, and when avoiding that, people will get to avoid much more serious issues like discrimination, inequality and stereotypes.
Esperanto is not only a tool of international communication between people, it is also a way to promote peace by delivering its simplest meaning to every single person in every part of the globe. It actually helps people live in line with their most valuable principles, because human values like respect, love and tolerance need to be a part of everyone, something that Esperanto teaches indirectly. Moreover, when teaching or learning to speak this language, we actually carry responsibility and respect towards each other and towards our humanity and eventually towards our functioning as human beings.
The World Esperanto Association or the Universala Esperanto-Asocio (UEA) – as it is in Esperanto – is the largest international Esperanto organization, based in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. It actually has members in 121 countries around the world. This organization has been putting a lot of effort in order to make this language as useful as possible as well as to amplify its use among people. As part of the UEA, people are able to learn, practice, exchange information, publish, read, and even organize trips, concerts and cultural events.
Today, there are still many countries with no UEA representatives especially those in Africa and Asia, as most UEA offices are located in Europe (mostly central Europe). However, this does not mean that there is no possibility to interact with the UEA and be in touch with Esperanto experts and qualified mentors that can assist anyone in their learning process. More than two million people have now been introduced to Esperanto, and the number is still growing, which is a good proof that this language actually works. These two million people are mostly from European countries, North America, and China.
As it has already done a lot for many communities and societies, Esperanto would be a useful tool of communication to be used in all countries. It has origins from most of the Romance languages, Slavic languages and even languages such as Chinese and Arabic, which makes the learning process of Esperanto relatively easy to the point that many linguists consider it to be the easiest language on earth. The fact that English takes the crown as the most common second language in the world, is does not mean that it is unnecessary to use another language that would unite people in all countries, including regions with conflicts that are now working on building a new democracy based on the respect of Human Rights. Although many people underestimate this idea and do not believe in its effectiveness, this language would actually empower young people to promote active participation to integrate Human Rights values into all areas of life, because using this neutral language can inspire people to promote interfaith dialogue, intercultural exchange and defend their rights and the rights of others.
Esperanto holds much more than simple words, verbs and phrases. It holds true meaningful human values that sometimes we cannot find even in new modern constitutions. It does not belong to anyone, it belongs to everyone. Overall, what is more important is not the language itself or the number of its speakers around the world. What is much more important is the universal message of peace behind it.