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SIL International Media Release

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

DALLAS, TX (May 6, 2004) Members of the SIL International Relations Office and SIL International Literacy Department will be attending the Third Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, May 10–21.

At the Forum on May 11, SIL will host a panel discussion on the topic: Indigenous Women’s Issues in Education and Language Development: Challenges and Successes. SIL International Literacy Coordinator, Pat Kelley, will moderate the panel discussion.

Three indigenous women sponsored by SIL will join other distinguished panel participants to discuss and identify education and literacy issues from their own indigenous perspectives. Maria Villalobos from Oaxaca, Mexico, is a member of a Zapotec indigenous language group, and has authored instructional materials in Zapotec and several storybooks as Zapotec literature. Rita Lasimbang Otegil has an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Texas. She is a member of a Kadazandusun indigenous language group of Sabah, Malaysia, and the founder and director of Kadazandusun Language Foundation. Margarita Gargate has completed postgraduate studies in Educational Psychology, and is a member of a Quechua indigenous language group in central Peru.

These three women are currently involved in local literacy and educational initiatives. They are engaged in solutions that are impacting the direction of education and development in their communities.

Following the UN Forum event, a report will be forthcoming on this website.

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