• Cultural Conversations to explore new alphabet

    Brothers invent script to help culture survive

    ADLaM is a new alphabet that is keeping an ancient people from vanishing. At a virtual Cultural Conversation Wednesday, July 29, participants will learn how ADLaM is helping the Fulani of West Africa write their own future and celebrate their history. 

    You are invited to explore how written language affects our relationships, culture and history. Virtual Zoom “doors” open at 12:30 p.m., with program and table conversation 1-2:30 p.m. 

    In the late 1980s, Ibrahima and Abdoulaye Barry, brothers from Guinea aged 10 and 14, invented ADLaM for their native language, Fulfulde, which had been spoken by the Fulani across West Africa for centuries, but never had its own writing system. ADLaM is an acronym derived from the first four letters of Fulfulde, ADLM, translated as “the alphabet that keeps the people from vanishing.”

    Sharing the story will be Sara Lerner, with Microsoft communications, who interviewed ADLaM’s creators for a Microsoft Story Labs article, and Suwadu Jallow, local University of Washington alumna from The Gambia. Lerner and Jallow will talk about the empowering influence of ADLaM across the globe and the alphabet’s Microsoft connection. Steve Wiens, creative director and managing editor of Microsoft Story Labs, will discuss the power of story.

    The storytelling will be followed by small virtual breakout rooms that will mirror table conversations. Registration is required for this space-limited event at NeighborhoodOutreach@bellevuewa.gov or 425-452-6836. Your registration will be confirmed with a Zoom link, providing instructions to connect to the event.

    Cultural Conversations, in its 10th season, has transformed relationships and perspectives among diverse women in the community through education and storytelling.

    For alternate formats, interpreters or reasonable accommodation requests, please phone at least 48 hours in advance 425-452-6836 (voice). For complaints regarding accommodations, contact the city’s ADA/Title VI Administrator at 425-452-6168 (voice) or email ADATitleVI@bellevuewa.gov. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, dial 711.

    Published on 07/23/2020