SIL Mexico

Lic. Ramón Beteta Quintana

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Remarks by Lic. Ramón Beteta (Secretary of the Treasury and Public Credit and ambassador, President of the Instituto Lingüístico de Verano's [ILV] advisory board), November 11, 1960, on the 25th anniversary of ILV (translation)


The work of the Institute [includes] the scientific study of the languages and, simultaneously, of the customs of the indigenous peoples, for the purpose of understanding and, where possible, preserving parts of the old and venerable civilizations from which we could learn much if we looked to them in humility and with open minds, rather than coming to them blinded by the vanity and pride which make us believe in our racial superiority, a sin which even those who have indigenous roots often fail to escape. I have had occasion to closely follow the activities of these studious and sincere young people of the Instituto Lingüístico de Verano, since William Townsend was first introduced to me in the presence of General Cárdenas, then President of the Republic, a quarter of a century ago. The zeal, selflessness and self-sacrifice with which they have worked, together with their scientific rigor in learning and preserving the native languages, constitute, in my opinion, an example of constructive and noble labor. But it is more than that: it is an example of how relations between people without common bonds can be founded upon understanding and friendship. This is a most valuable lesson in this time when growing incomprehension, mutual distrust and collective selfishness are making world peace an impossibility.