Keeping language alive

Keeping Language Alive
Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Language is the roadmap to a culture. We need it to communicate. We need it to understand. How do we not only help teachers teach and learners learn, but safeguard the thousands of world languages? Join Megan Jeffrey CN'04 and Daniel Bögre Udell ES'08 for a conversation on their roles in keeping language alive.

Since its founding in 1986, the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) has been at the center of national language policy and resource development. Its founders were influencing how policy makers were viewing language as an important facet of our complicated world. In the late 80s and early 90s, 20 years after SYA opened, cultural literacy concepts and foreign language instruction were national agendas thanks to the efforts of NFLC. Megan helps to promote language learning through her role at the NFLC.

The world has more than 7,000 languages. Half the world's languages could disappear in a generation, erasing half of all human knowledge. But around the world, people are fighting back. Wikitongues, a global nonprofit co-founded by Daniel Bögre Udell ES’08, safeguards language documentation, expands access to mother-tongue resources, and directly supports language revitalization projects.

About our speakers

Megan Jeffrey CN’04 is the director of strategic initiatives and communication at the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC). She is also a member of the Executive Committee and helps in the overall governance of the organization. With a background in global strategy, US-China relations and marketing, Megan joined the NFLC in 2021 and oversees business and partnership development, strategic planning, marketing, and social media. She has lived and worked in countries in East and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa and speaks fluent Mandarin. She attended SYA China as a junior from Western High School (MD), attended the University of Maryland for both bachelor and master’s degrees. Megan earned her master’s in International Education Policy and bachelor’s in Chinese with a Certificate of East Asian Studies. She also holds numerous executive certificates from the Johns Hopkins University including Business Communication, Management Development, and Innovation and Design Thinking.

Daniel Bögre Udell ES’08’s goal is to create a world in which everyone has the resources and the right to keep their language alive. He cofounded Wikitongues in 2014, establishing a global volunteer movement to expand access to language revitalization. Wikitongues helps speakers document and promote their languages online, safeguarding them for the next generation. All their initiatives work to sustain marginalized languages through media, so their language can be shared and taught. They are collecting videos in every language in the world. Prior to this, Daniel was an active contributor to the nonprofit news initiative Global Voices, cofounding the project's Catalan language edition and translating Catalan articles into English. He attended SYA Spain as a junior from the Hotchkiss School (CT), and has a BFA in design and technology and a master's degree in historical studies from the New School University in New York City. In addition to Daniel's native English, he speaks Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese.

To learn more about Wikitongues please visit To watch the oral histories, subscribe to the YouTube channel or visit to submit a video.

Can't attend?

Sign up to submit a question for the panelists and to receive early access to ensure the recording lands in your email box.