UNESCO Int’l Confab on Language, Education and the Millennium Development Goals

BANGKOK, THAILAND, March 26, 2010–An International Conference on “Language, Education and the Millennium Development Goals” will be held 9-11 November, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand, sponsored by a consortium of organizations from the Asia Multilingual Education Working Group, including: UNESCO, UNICEF, SEAMEO, Mahidol University, SIL International, Save the Children and CARE.

Join with representatives from government and intergovernmental agencies, NGOs, academics and local community organizations during a three-day forum to dialogue about the state of development of ethnolinguistic minorities, the relevance of local languages, and how to develop programmes and policies that better reach these under-served groups.

Purpose

Languages are more than tools for, and means of communication, they help shape the identity of individuals and groups, as well as serve as a key element in social integration and cultural development. As such, languages are also strategically important for the attainment of internationally agreed upon goals such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA).

Despite aggregate gains worldwide in achieving the MDGs and EFA, the state of development for the world’s ethnolinguistic minorities continues to lag behind, putting them at risk for even greater disparities in the future and increasing the likelihood of conflict arising from exclusion.

This conference is meant to provide a forum to enhance understanding, inspire meaningful action and increase access to education and development opportunities for ethnolinguistic communities through:

  • Increasing understanding of the linkages between language and achieving
 the eight millennium development goals (MDGs)
  • Fostering connections among a broad set of actors to support activities that integrate language and education as crosscutting themes in achieving the MDG’s.
  • Informing policy makers and development partners on good practices to effectively incorporate language and education into strategies and policies to achieve the MDGs.

Tracks

The conference will feature four thematic tracks, which will incorporate language and education as crosscutting themes:

1.     Ethnolinguistic Communities & Universal Primary Education (MDG 2)

Examples of sub-themes for consideration:

  • What are the linguistic and cultural considerations in strategies that seek to achieve universal primary education?
  • What is the role of learners’ first language (L1), or mother tongue, versus languages of wider communication (national, official or international languages) in the primary education system? How are multilingual education approaches and models being utilized to facilitate achievement of UPE?
  • What is the role of non-formal education, particularly early childhood education and development as well as adult literacy in supporting universal primary education? How are multilingual education approaches being incorporated in this environment to facilitate smooth integration into primary school?
  • How are ethnolinguistic minority children (who speak non-dominant languages) fairing relative to their dominant language speaking counterparts in accessing, and sustaining, their involvement in primary school?
  • In what ways have local language and culture been effectively integrated in policies and programmes to improve access for, and retention of, non-dominant language speakers within formal education systems?

2.      Ethnolinguistic Communities & Gender Equality (MDG 3)

Examples of sub-themes for consideration:

  • What are the linguistic and cultural considerations in strategies that promote gender equality and empower women?
  • What is the role of life-long learning in overcoming gender biases and discrimination?
  • How are women and girls fairing in ethnolinguistic minority communities relative to their counterparts in dominant language speaking communities?
  • In what ways have local language and culture been effectively integrated in policies and programmes to ensure equitable development opportunities, improved status and treatment of both sexes?

3.      Ethnolinguistic Communities, Health & Security (MDGs 4,5,6)

Examples of sub-themes for consideration:

  • What are the linguistic and cultural considerations in strategies to: reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and enhance disease prevention?
  • What is the role of life-long learning in fostering improved health and security for ethnolinguistic communities?
  • How are ethnolinguistic minorities fairing relative to dominant language populations with regard to improving maternal and child health, or combating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis?
  • In what ways have local language and culture been effectively integrated into policies and programmes to facilitate improved health and security for speakers of non-dominant languages?

4.      Ethnolinguistic Communities and Sustainable Development (MDGs 1,7)

Examples of sub-themes for consideration:

  • What is the role of intangible cultural heritage in sustainable development?
  • What are linguistic and cultural considerations in poverty reduction and environmental preservation strategies?
  • What is the role of life-long learning in fostering sustainable development?
  • How are ethnolinguistic minorities fairing relative to dominant language populations with regard to alleviating extreme poverty and hunger, or in mitigating environmental degradation.
  • In what ways have local language and culture been effectively integrated into policies and programmes to facilitate equitable and sustainable development for speakers of non-dominant languages?

Abstract Submissions:

Abstracts of proposed papers will be accepted until July 15, 2010. Selected presenters will be notified by August 20, 2010. We welcome submission of papers and perspectives representing a broad range of viewpoints and that highlight relevant local, national or comparative research and practice in the four thematic areas of the conference.

Registration Fees

Registration fees will cover the following items: conference kit, access to plenary and panel sessions, morning and afternoon refreshments and buffet lunches for the three days of the conference. Registration will open in May/June 2010.

  • Thai Participants: 4,950 Thai Baht
  • International (Non-Thai) Participants: US$250/person (equivalent to 8280 Thai Baht)

More information on the conference programme, venue and plenary speakers will be available in May/June 2010. Please contact: s.custer@unescobkk.org or j.lindeberg@unesco.org for more information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s