The Tigrinya Language Digital Initiatives Symposium was hosted virtually on June 16-19, 2022. The symposium was sponsored by the UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education (IDRE), UCLA African Studies Center (ASC), and Stanford University’s African and Middle Eastern (AME) Programs. Organizers of the Symposium included Dr. Abraham Adhaom from the UCLA International Institute, Dr. Biniam Gebremichael of the SeReT Foundation in Colorado, Professor Issayas Tesfamariam from Stanford University, and Mr. Yemane Russom, the Founder of Geezsoft and Phonetic Systems.
The symposium brought many scholars, researchers, and industry experts from all over the world. Presenters and attendees from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa participated, with an average of 400 attending the conference each day. A critical objective of the Symposium was to coordinate and streamline various distributed Tigrinya language-related computing, research and development projects to share experiences and avoid redundancies among experts, professionals, and scholars working on Tigrinya computing initiatives. The symposium was intended to enable Tigrinya speakers to be creators and beneficiaries of Language and Linguistics Technologies to empower and transform their communities through education, research, and development in their own language.
The Tigrinya Language Digital Initiatives Symposium was initiated by Professor Abraham Adhanom, who teaches African languages, including Amharic and Tigrinya, at UCLA. The courses are also offered to all University of California (UC) campuses through the ILTI (Innovative Learning Technology Initiative), a cross-campus enrollment platform. In addition to language instruction, the courses integrate cultural, social, and interdisciplinary experiences in connection with the Eritrean and Ethiopian communities.
The conference organizers, presenters, and attendees indicated aspirations and prospects to make the Symposium an annual gathering where new ideas can be shared, and the research and development efforts that were presented at the conference can be enhanced and developed further to reach a finish line. The symposium presentation topics, schedule, and presenter bios are available at the Symposium website: https://tigrinyadigitalinitiatives.org/.