Yorùbá Academy appoints Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún program director

The Yorùbá Academy Board of Trustees and Management Committee announced the appointment of Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún as Program Director.

Mr. Túbọ̀sún, linguist and writer, succeeded on September 15, 2020 to Adé Adéagbo who left his duties as executive director, the academy said in a statement on Monday.

Until recently, Mr. Túbọ̀sún was the Chevening scholar at the British Library in London, working on the 19th century African language print collections, focusing on Yorùbá, where he worked with Marion Wallace, the curator of Africa.

The Yorùbá Academy, founded in 2007, is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental and multidisciplinary political institution created to foster a culture of learning and Yorùbá civilization. The former Minister of Education, Babátúndé Fáfúnwá, was the first president of the board of the Academy. The current president is General Alani Akinrinade.

Profile of the new program director

Mr. Túbọ̀sún, 39, holds an MA in Linguistics / Teaching English as a Second Language from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, USA (2012), and a BA in Linguistics from the University of Ìbàdàn, Nigeria (2005).

He is both Fulbright (2009) and Chevening (2019) and has worked in education in Nigeria and the United States. He is also a creative writer, scholar, travel writer, poet and translator, working in both Yorùbá and English. Her first collection of poetry was titled Edwardsville by Heart, published in 2018. Her work has been translated into Korean, Italian and Spanish.

In early September 2020, he coordinated a webinar on Yorùbá spelling titled How Should We Write Yorùbá? which featured Yorùbá writers, scholars, publishers and enthusiasts, such as Karin Barber from the London School of Economics, Túndé Adégbọlá from the African Language Technology Initiative, Mọlará Wood from Ouida Books, Adélékè Adéẹ̀kọ́ from Ohio University, Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò from Cornell University, Carli Coetzee from the Journal of African Cultural Studies, Mosúnmọ́lá Adéòjó from the University of Florida and Àrẹ̀mú Adéọlá Jr, a student from the University of Lagos.

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From 2015, Mr. Túbọ̀sún founded the Yorùbá Names Project, hosted on YorubaName.com, which is Yorùbá’s first multimedia dictionary. The project has expanded to other Nigerian language-based projects and ideas like IgboNames.com, TTSYoruba.com, Yorùbá / Igbo Tone Marker, and a Yorùbá monolingual dictionary on YorubaWord.com.

In 2016, while working at Google on a Nigerian English project, Mr. Túbọ̀sún helped change the erroneous translation of Èṣù to Google Translate. The Nigerian English Voice on Google Maps and Assistant is the first such project by a tech giant tailored to the Nigerian audience. The Google GBoard application which makes it easy to mark the tone of Yorùbá words on mobile phones was also one of the projects he worked on at the company.

In 2011, Mr. Túbọ̀sún successfully ran a campaign to pressure Twitter to add Yorùbá to his list of languages ​​the platform was translated into. He has also worked as a freelance translator and literary translator from Yorùbá to English and from English to Yorùbá.

In June 2016, he became the first African to receive the Special Premio Ostana Award from Chambra D’Oc in Cuneo, Italy, for his work in defense of indigenous languages. Since 2017 he has worked as a consultant for the Oxford English Dictionary.

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