Language and culture of a society are born and developed from a philosophy, world view, way of life, and knowledge as well as human experience which are closely related to nature and the surrounding world. The core of the interrelationship between humans and nature in terms of language and culture is to form identity and self-esteem of a human culture and society.
The Center for Endangered Languages Documentation (CELD) at the UNIPA in Manokwari is born as an institute which conveys the idea that as soon as a language or culture disappears, the self-esteem and identity of its former speech community or cultural group will disappear as well. We are extremely aware of the fact that the diversity of languages and cultures in Papua will decrease and eventually die as it happens in other countries. Presently, some languages and cultures in Papua are about to vanish because the amount of their native speakers and cultural supporters undergo a rapid reduction.
We therefore come to the conclusion that the death of a language and its belonging culture means the loss of a world heritage that we all dearly treasure.
Based on the vision, mission, and aims of the CELD, we strongly support UNIPA’s motto “Science for Humanity” (Pro Humanitate Scientia), which builds an awareness and knowledge of language and culture that are closely related to the self-esteem and the self-identity of the community, especially in Papua.
To end this foreword, I would like to quote Don Flassy’s statement (2010), a Papuan philosopher:
‘Do not view language and culture as only instruments for tourism, but view language and culture as self-identity and self-esteem of a community.’
Director Yusuf Sawaki