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SIL conference elects new board president

Plenary speaker, Dr. Sheldon Schaeffer, director of the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, addresses the SIL conference.

Plenary speaker, Dr. Sheldon Schaeffer, director of the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, addresses the SIL conference.

(May 2008) Delegates from several partner organizations from over 70 countries convened in Thailand to attend the SIL two-week triennial planning conference. Plenary speaker, Dr. Sheldon Schaeffer, director of the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, addressed the topic, "fostering language development: advocacy, sustainability, and resourcing," in his paper, Language in and for Development.


Dr. Carolyn Miller passes the gavel to incoming SIL President Dr. John Watters

Dr. Carolyn Miller passes the gavel to incoming SIL President Dr. John Watters

In accord with Bylaws, the conference elected a new board of directors. Dr. John Watters was chosen as the incoming president, who, in December 2007, completed an eight-year term as the executive director of SIL International. Watters brings to the position of president—which functions as chairman of the SIL International Board—a broad range of experience in linguistics and administration.

Asked about his initial goals as incoming president, Watters stated, "With eight new members, the first goal for the board is to become a well-functioning governance body and to develop a good working relationship with the new executive director. Then we can consider what SIL should become in the 21st century. The nine nationalities represented on the board will greatly enrich that discussion."

Watters replaces Dr. Carolyn Miller, the first woman SIL president, who served three consecutive three-year terms. Miller will continue to contribute her linguistic expertise as a consultant in universities and local workshops across Asia.

SIL Executive Director Fredrick Boswell

SIL Executive Director Fredrick Boswell

SIL Executive Director Fredrick Boswell began his first term in January 2008. He stated that he looks forward to continue working with Watters, each in new leadership positions, as they focus on SIL's goals. During his first State of SIL address to the conference delegates, Boswell affirmed that an on-going priority of his administration will be to continue strengthening and expanding the organization’s international network of partners promoting language development.

Throughout the conference, delegates expressed their desire to expand SIL's role in capacity development and advocacy for the world's ethnolinguistic minority communities. One major way of doing this is through language development within a framework of holistic people-centered partnerships.

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