Saluton kaj Feliĉan Zamenhof-Tagon!
This is my second report since taking office this summer. If you haven’t read the previous report from August, I encourage you to take a look, or to watch one of the summary videos on Youtube (in English and Esperanto).
This report should be released on Zamenhof Day, December 15. I hope you’re doing something fun with your local group today or this weekend! As we look back at the year in American Esperantujo, I want to let you know about the exciting things that have been happening or are on the horizon.
I’ll start with some of the most exciting updates:
We have locked in the dates for the 2024 Usona Kongreso de Esperanto: July 12-16 at CSU Dominguez Hills, in Los Angeles. We are very excited about the plans we are working on, including a ‘mini-NASK’ during the Kongreso. Early bird registration opens up today—act quickly, because prices will increase in January!
We have lined up two fantastic co-editors for Usona Esperantisto! Alena Adler and Logan Hall will be taking over from outgoing and long-serving editor Hoss Firooznia beginning in January. Please join me in welcoming Alena and Logan, and in giving Hoss a hearty thanks for the years of effort he has put into UE.
We have lined up a Transitional Director of the Central Office. Amanda Higley-Schmidt will begin training with Bill Harris in January and preparing for the transition, which will finish around the time of the Kongreso in July. This will allow Bill to take a much-earned retirement after nearly twenty years of service to Esperanto-USA!
There are plenty of other exciting things that have happened recently. In November, five people from the US went to the Tut-Amerika Kongreso de Esperanto, in Fortaleza, Brazil. Aside from the Brazilians, we were the largest group there! Besides Duncan and Cecily Charters, and myself, we also had Alex Miller and Jonathan Thomas. Neither Alex or Jonathan have ever been to an Esperanto event outside of North America, and they were able to go with the support of Esperanto-USA’s Goldman fund. We had a well-stocked table with books by Myrtis Smith and Aaron Fingtam, stickers from Usone Persone, and other books and materials from the Central Office. I am confident that the US delegation made a very good impression among the Brazilian and Latin American samideanoj, and that we built links which will lead to great collaboration in the future. One of the highlights for me was a visit to a school for young children whose parents are in prison, where they are taught Esperanto; through our “Children Around the World” fund, we will be providing support for this school to expand its program, including teaching Esperanto to the other school teachers. (For more on TAKE, please see Jonathan and Alex’s reports in this issue of UE, as well as the videos on YouTube!)
The two committees that we established after the Landa Kongreso have been very active. The Communications Committee ran a fun series of posts around Halloween that saw a lot of engagement, and are currently working on designs for stickers, and are currently running a similar series of posts around various December holidays. The Projects Committee has been laying the groundwork for how we will be able to take on and support ongoing projects in a sustainable way, such as the Usona Bona Filmfestivalo. Both committees have around ten active members—it’s very exciting to see this groundswell of involvement. Our other committees, such as for Membership and Promotion, are also continuing with their own initiatives—in fact, if you are interested in getting plugged into one of Esperanto-USA’s committees, make sure to fill out the survey which was recently sent by the Membership Committee!
Speaking of the UBFF, we just finished the fifth edition of this festival. Fifty films were submitted for this edition, bringing the total to over 150, the largest collection of Esperanto-language films anywhere. Besides the prizes for the top ten and the audience choice, our judges liked ten other films enough to suggest awarding them honorable mentions. We have also seen a lot of donations come in to ESF’s matching fund through the excitement of the film festival, including even from some directors who had never donated before. Our count of subscribers on YouTube now sits at over 2000—four times what it was when we started the festival three years ago. If you haven’t watched any of the latest ones, I encourage you to check them out—many of them are quite impressive.
I also want to ask you to help support the expansion of our work: please consider a one-time or monthly recurring donation through Esperantic Studies Foundation’s “Esperanto in the USA” program, which will double every dollar you donate. And if you haven’t yet renewed your dues for 2024, please take a moment to do so (or make sure you are on auto-renewal)!