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Language and globalization conference

(August 2008) The interaction of language and globalization were in focus at a conference 27–28 August sponsored by UNESCO and the United Nations University. The conference, held in Tokyo, was entitled Globalization and languages: Building on our rich heritage.

Keynote speakers included Vigdis Finnbogadóttir, the former president of Iceland; Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï, the chairman of UNESCO's executive board; and the well known language rights scholar, Stephen May of the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

On behalf of SIL, Barbara Trudell, Director of Academic Affairs for SIL Africa Area and an international literacy consultant, presented a paper in a moderated panel session. Her paper, "Contesting the default: The Multi-faceted impact of local language use in education and learning," focused on the impact of education in the local language on sustainable development, language maintenance, academic achievement and national citizenship.

Held during the UN-designated International Year of Language (2008), the conference's goal was to explore the contributions of linguistic diversity and multilingualism to development, and their value for dialogue, social cohesion and peace. Outcomes of the conference included policy recommendations for decision-makers and world leaders.

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