Monday, June 16, 2014

Diplomat Predicts Future for Esperanto in Universities

The diplomat
John Barrett was a American diplomat, notable for his work in relations amongst the states in the Americas. Notably, he served as ambassador to Argentina, Panama, and Columbia in turn, though for the last two, he only served less than a year each. In 1907, he left his position as Ambassador to Columbia to help organize the Bureau of American Republics, of which he was the first director. The Bureau was later renamed the Pan American Union, and much later formed the basis for the Organization of American States.

On June, 16, 1910, the East Oregonian of Pendleton, Oregon, ran an article quoting Mr. Barrett, but the subject matter wasn’t South American diplomacy, per se. At the time, Washington, D.C. was gearing up to host the first ever World Esperanto Congress (the Universala Kongreso) held outside of Europe. Zamenhof was coming. This had the potential to be a big thing for the Esperanto movement, not just in the United States, but worldwide. Barrett told the press that Esperanto would soon be a subject of study in colleges and universities.
With the completion of the Panama canal, the bringing together of the nations in closer trade relations, and the constantly increasing tendency on the part of Americans to visit abroad, the useful ends which Esperanto as an auxiliary language, can be made to serve will become more and more apparent in this country.
The article, which appeared in the June 16, 1910 East Oregonian saves one important fact for last about this prominent career diplomat:
Director Barrett is president of the Esperanto Association of North America. He probably will preside over the international congress during its sessions in Washington.
When he stated the belief that the congress would “result in the study of Esperanto being taken up rapidly in the principal colleges and universities of the United States,” he was probably speaking solely as the president of EANA, and not as the director of the Bureau of American Republics. Once again, the 1910 conference did not seem to meet the hopes and expectations of the Esperanto movement.

Update: The East Oregonian was quoting from a Washington Times article of May 23, 1910, which I have (subsequently) dealt with at greater length here.
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