The 2nd Mayan Languages Digital Activism Summit, an event designed with the purpose of facilitating spaces for learning and exchange between digital activists and their communities working to promote, preserve and revitalize Mayan languages in Mexico and beyond, is scheduled to take place in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico on January 17-20, 2024. This four-day event is being organized by the Rising Voices initiative of Global Voices, with the support of its lead sponsor, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
By bringing together digital activists from Southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, the different activities will help participants from across the region create peer-to-peer learning networks of solidarity and support, shape, share strategies and tactics, and highlight a community of practice driven by local initiatives, resources and priorities.
The first Summit was held in January 2023 in Mérida, Yucatán.
The event will be divided into five main activities, including some designed for invited groups and some open to the general public:
Gathering of 2023 Fellows and 2022 Fellow alumni: January 17 & 18, 2024.
For the past two years, two cohorts of 10 Fellows each from the Yucatán Peninsula and the state of Chiapas were selected to implement digital activism projects in their local communities. This experience included monthly virtual meetings with peer learning communities. These gatherings will be an opportunity for them to gather for two days to share experiences and further strengthen ties for ongoing collaboration.
Workshop on the creation of digital children’s books in Mayan languages: January 17 & 18, 2024
In October and November 2023, a group of translators from different communities of Mayan languages took part in a series of virtual workshops to improve their translation skills and learn how to create digital books utilizing the Storyweaver platform. As a result, more than 50 new children's books are now available online in languages such as Tseltal, Tsotsil, Yucatec Maya, Ch'ol and Tojolabʼal. For the Summit, 11 different titles are being printed to be shared with local communities. A group of translators are being invited to come together to share their experience with the platform, learn strategies for outreach for these books, and to continue expanding their translation skills.
Community visit and exchange: January 17, 2023
Outreach to local communities that may be unable to join the activities in San Cristóbal has been important part of the Summit. The groups of Fellows will share their experiences and hear about the work of Indigenous artists who are part of the Artex Center in San Juan Chamula, located 10 km from San Cristóbal.
Public Conference: January 19, 2024
The Summit then opens its doors to the general public beginning with a conference featuring panel discussions, spotlight presentations by the Fellows, and the official launch of the toolkit project “Digital Initiatives for Indigenous Languages,” a partnership between Global Voices and UNESCO.
Among the topics addressed include how to make digital activism more inclusive with the participation of young people, the importance of making digital security tools and resources available in Mayan languages, alternatives to connectivity when the Internet is not reliable, and strategies to ensure equitable access to digital content in Mayan languages. See the full program here (in Spanish).
Mayan languages digital activism Fair: January 20, 2024
A new addition to the Summit activities includes a one-day fair will be open to the general public and where digital activists from across the region will get the opportunity to share their work in an interactive fashion.
The activities will feature hands-on demonstrations for using digital tools to promote Mayan languages, such as how to create stop-motion animation, using AI to create multimedia to promote Mayan languages, how to localize free software into Mayan languages, and how to edit an article in Wikipedia in Indigenous languages.
Lightning talks are also being scheduled where digital activists will have 20 minutes to share their work, and will feature presentations from Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.
Throughout the day, 36 different booths will be set up to showcase their digital projects, including apps, multimedia projects, community network initiatives, digital illustrations and language learning digital platforms.
This fair will be held in collaboration with La Enseñanza – Casa de la Ciudad.
See the full program here (in Spanish).
The Summit is part of the Mayan Languages Digital Activism (ADLM) project, launched in 2021, which consists of a Fellowship program, in which 10 emerging digital activists from Chiapas and the Yucatan Peninsula (states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo), join a peer learning community to implement a digital activism project based on needs and priorities of their local community.
Follow along on social media with the hashtag #ADLM24.