George Ruskallah is a retired high school teacher of Arabic and English, who was appointed Curriculum Director of the Aramaic Institute in Maaloula in 2007. He has dedicated his life to keeping Western Neo-Aramaic alive, thus continuing the work of his father, who had spent his life collecting the songs, stories and words of his Aramaic mother tongue.
Lambert Jungmann is a lawyer whose career was focused on European and international law. He worked as a senior civil servant at the Federal Audit Office and spent many years in West Africa as a counsellor and director of development projects. His work also permitted him to gain deep insights into the political and social structures of the states of the Middle East.
Gerd-Burkhard Mueller is a retired translator and interpreter and has worked as a technical writer and developer in the fi eld of medical imaging equipment.
Western Neo-Aramaic is spoken in only three villages (Maaloula, Bax’a, Jub’adin) in the Qalamun mountains north of Damascus in Syria. The speakers, numbering 20,000 people at most, are Orthodox Christians and Sunni Muslims. That such a small community immersed in an Arabic speaking environment should be able to keep alive its orally transmitted ancient idiom, [...]