SIL International Media Release

Heritage language and literacy development in Southeast Asia—International conference in Jakarta

(July 2008) Four agencies concerned about preserving endangered languages worked together to conduct an international conference 22–23 July in Jakarta, Indonesia. Heritage language literacy development in Southeast Asia was co-sponsored by Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, Kartidaya, PBTM-Indonesia (Reading and Writing Association of Indonesia) and SIL.

The issue of language extinction is a source of great concern for all nations of the world, but especially for the nations in Southeast Asia with their nearly 4000 languages. The trend of language extinction may not be reversible. The goal of the organizers is to work toward developing strategies to preserve endangered languages with the support of policy makers, practitioners and governmental and nongovernmental organizations at local, national and international levels.

The keynote speaker was Prof Dr. Retno S. Sudiboyo, M.Sc., speaking on “Overcoming illiteracy through college KKN* program.” Plenary speakers included Dr. Kimmo Kosonen, SIL Liaison to UNESCO. Over 100 participants from eight countries attended. Twenty-five papers were presented during parallel sessions by those working with ethnolinguistic minority languages in practical field programs, teachers or university staff working in bilingual or trilingual literacy efforts, and second language learners or instructors in such programs.

Topics for parallel sessions

* Kuliah Kerja Nyata: A required rural social action internship for advanced university students.

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