Friendly Borders


An artifact, whether a Hopi urn, a Maori carving, or an Edo period woodblock print is a tangible representation of the culture which produced it. Languages, both living and intangible by nature, are even more fragile, and therefore more precious cultural artifacts. It is in the same custodial spirit that we seek to showcase and preserve individual languages and the very cultures from which they sprang, without regard with political considerations that often attend questions of ethnicity.

Friendly Borders strives to preserve ancient and modern cultures and languages around the world. Our small but dynamic and dedicated staff is particularly concerned about cultures that are being threatened by the inroads of modernization and could disappear  in the near future due to assimilation.

Founded in 2004, Friendly Borders has set a number of ambitious goals itself, with the aim of protecting world cultures and languages from extinction.


Qiang PeopleQiang People























Antigua & Barduda












    The Minangkabau of West Sumatera
    By Sutria Rahayu

    Minangkabau couple on their wedding day1

    Padang – The Minangkabau is the largest matrilineal ethnic group in the world, but its members are predominantly Islamic, which is a patriarchal religion. These two contrasting systems — matrilineal and patrilineal — are thus the basic reference in the society. A famous Minangkabau aphorism captures the essence: “adat basandi syara’, syara’ basandi kitabullah (adat based on the Islamic law, the Islamic law based on the Qur’an).” In other words, the Minangkabau and Islamic systems exist in harmony. The relationship between adat (the Minangkabau matrilineal system) and Islam has stirred numerous debates and spurred considerable research. The debates are mainly about how … Continue reading

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