International Linguapax Award

Linguapax delivers a yearly award on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day (21 February). This prize is a tribute to outstanding action carried out in different areas in favour of the preservation of linguistic diversity, revitalization and reactivation of linguistic communities and the promotion of multilingualism.


2018 Award

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 edition is BASAbali, a “collaboration of linguists, anthropologists, students, and laypeople, from within and outside of Bali, who are collaborating to keep Balinese strong and sustainable”.

In words of BASAbali’s founding director, Alissa Stern, “BASAbali is founded in the belief that all languages, but most importantly a language of a great culture such as Balinese, deserve recognition and use in the modern world — and not be relegated to a language of rural farmers or a language of home, not worthy of activities associated with learning, public affairs and local educational and political practices. The aim, in short, is to develop facilities that will enable Balinese and other local languages to occupy a position of prestige alongside modern national and international languages and to carry forward their rich cultural traditions.”

Using the Balinese language as a model for other language communities, the BASAbali collaboration is pioneering a language revitalization methodology that is predicated on the belief linguistic diversity is paramount to human sustainability and will require a significant shift in how we value local languages, especially in today’s digital world.

Since its inception in 2011,the  BASAbali collaboration has developed  programs that have produced critical resources while involving important segments of the Balinese intelligentsia and international language advocates in propelling the Balinese language into becoming a language that is valued within the Balinese community and within the modern world. For example, BASAbali translated  Google’s Home page into the Balinese language, symbolically and literally placing Balinese amongst modern international languages; they created interactive multimedia software to teach Balinese in a modern engaging way, they secured a local government mandate for using Balinese on Fridays and carried out many other grass-roots effortsto motivate and institutionalise the use of Balinese in both the local and international communities.

One their major achievements is the BASAbali wiki, a combination trilingual multi-media reference dictionary, encyclopedia, and digital library of traditional texts, modern Balinese literature and photographs, many of which are not otherwise available on line. BASAbali Wiki is also working with academics and government appointed “Language Ambassadors” to contextualize indigenous medicinal wisdom from traditional palm leaf manuscripts with modern usage via videos contributed by villagers and by professional videographers; and BASAbali Wiki also provides a platform for a new genre of modern Balinese literature and encourages people to write in Balinese and to share their work in order to encourage others to follow suit.

More on their website:

The award delivery ceremony will take place later this year.


2018 Terms of reference

  1. Linguapax International calls for nominations for the Linguapax International Award on a yearly basis to honour actions carried out in different fields in favour of the preservation of linguistic diversity, revitalization and reactivation of linguistic communities and the promotion of multilingualism.
  2. Individuals, entities or collectives of the academic community and civil society whose actions fit the descriptions of the aforementioned areas can be nominated as candidates. Persons linked with Linguapax structures or delegations are not eligible.
  3. Application files will include contact details of the nominee, a curriculum and a letter of motivation for the candidacy. Self-candidates must provide two letters of recommendation endorsing their merits. Additional documentation supporting the work described will be most appreciated, preferably in electronic format, including links to audio-visual media, publications, websites, press releases, etc.
  4. Nominations must be sent to Linguapax either by email to or by certified mail to Linguapax International, C/ Pelai 12, 3-M, 08001 Barcelona (Spain) before January 21, 2018. Please mention “Linguapax International Award 2018″ in the mail subject or on the envelope.
  5. The nominations will be treated with full confidentiality.
  6. The jury of the Linguapax International Award is formed of the members of the Linguapax Board and international Advisory Board as well as the delegates of the Linguapax International Network.
  7. The decision of the jury will be unquestionable. Exceptionally, the jury might decide to award two candidates.
  8. The 2018 International Linguapax Award is endowed with 6000 €.
  9. The 2018 Linguapax Award winner will be proclaimed on February 21, 2018, coinciding with the 18th commemoration of the International Mother Language Day.


Previous laureates

  • 2017 Award, to Matthias Brenzinger (Germany, South-Africa)
  • 2016 Award, to the Yambirrpa Schools/Djarrma Action Group of the Yolngu Community (Australia) and International and Heritage Languages Association (Canada)
  • 2015 Award, to Xavier Albó (Bolivia)
  • 2014 Award, to Valencian School (Valencia)
  • 2013 Award, to Ledikasyon pu Travayer (Mauritius)
  • 2012 Award, to Jon Landaburu Illarramendi (Colombia)
  • 2011 Award, to Ganesh Devy (India) and Indigenous Centre for Intercultural Research of Tierradentro (Colombia)
  • 2010 Award, to Miquel Siguan (Catalonia) and Robert Phillipson (UK)
  • 2009 Award, to Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira (New Zealand)
  • 2008 Award, toNeville Alexander (South Africa)
  • 2007 Award, to Maya Khemlani David (Malaysia)
  • 2006 Award, to Natividad Mutumbajoy (Colombia)
  • 2005 Award, to Maurice Tadadjeu (Cameroon)
  • 2004 Award, to Fernand de Varennes (Canada) and Joshua Fishman (USA)
  • 2003 Award, to Aina Moll ( Balearic Islands) and Tove Skutnabb Kangas (Finland/Denmark)
  • 2002 Award, to Bartomeu Melià (Paraguay) and Jerszy Smolicz (Australia/Poland)