International Mother Language Day Speaker: Maung Nyeu

Champlain College is excited to host Maung Nyeu, founder of Our Golden Hour. Nyeu is an ethnic Marma from the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. He grew up under threat of genocide and ethnic cleansing, but is now completing his PhD at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Nyeu has founded three schools, where indigenous children are educated in their mother tongues. He will be visiting Champlain on Feb. 20 and staying for International Mother Language Day, Feb. 21.


Associate Professor of Professional Writing Tim Brookes has collaborated with Nyeu through his endangered alphabets project. Together they are creating and publishing classroom materials in the endangered languages of the region. Students in the Publishing in the 21st Century class, taught by Brookes, have assisted in these projects, which are being used in Nyeu’s schools and have won several awards.

Brookes says: “Maung is an astonishing and inspiring guy, articulate, modest and remarkably cheerful given what has happened and what continues to happen to minorities in the Hill Tracts, including to his own family.”

Nyeu is now working to reverse the loss of language, and with it culture. His schools in Bangladesh are becoming a model which can help threatened cultures and languages around the world. He will be speaking in the Perry Presentation Room at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 and speaking in classrooms throughout the day.

You can read more about Maung Nyeu through these links:
National Geographic Society: First Person: Save a Language, Save a Culture.
Harvard Graduate School of Education Campaign — “Learn to Change the World”
“People Making Difference” in Christian Science Monitor
Harvard South Asia Institute Featured Story: “Saving a culture, book by book”