International Years

United Nations observances, including International Years, contribute to the achievement of the purposes of the UN Charter and promote awareness of and action on important political, social, cultural, humanitarian or human rights issues. They provide a useful means for the promotion of international and national action and stimulate interest in United Nations activities and programmes.  To learn more about past and future International Years please visit

International Year in 2019

International Year of Indigenous Languages
It is through language that we communicate with the world, define our identity, express our history and culture, learn, defend our human rights and participate in all aspects of society, to name but a few. Through language, people preserve their community’s history, customs and traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking, meaning and expression. They also use it to construct their future.

Language is pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, good governance, peace building, reconciliation, and sustainable development. More

Interview by UNIC Canberra on the year:

We spoke to Professor Tom Calma, Chancellor University of Canberra, Co-Chair Reconciliation Australia, and Co-Chair The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, Australian of the Year 2013 and former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and former Race Discrimination Commissioner.

We spoke about the importance of speaking in first languages and asked if support for Indigenous Languages of Australia’s First Peoples may be part of a broader reconciliation process. Listen here.