2nd International Conference Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace

12-14 July 2011, Yakutsk, Russian Federation

Overview

Supporting the promotion of linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace offers possibilities to preserve languages, while ensuring wider and more equitable access to information.

As language is the primary vector for communicating knowledge and traditions, providing opportunities for minority groups to use their own languages on global information networks ensures their participation in knowledge societies.

Over the years UNESCO in cooperation with other international institutions contributes to the efforts taken to allow as many languages as possible to be represented and used in the rapidly changing world of information technology and cyberspace.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) identified the cultural and linguistic diversity in cyberspace as a priority (Action Line C8).

Multilingualism in cyberspace is a cross-cutting issue of UNESCO Information for All Programme (IFAP).

A significant contribution to the celebration of the United Nations International Year of Languages (2008) was the First International Conference “Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace” (2-4 July 2008, Yakutsk, Russian Federation), organized by the Russian IFAP Committee, Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Interregional Library Cooperation Centre with the financial support of the Russian Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography and the UNESCO Office in Moscow.

The Conference final document – the Lena Resolution – is recognized to be one of the most important international documents on multilingualism promotion. As suggested in the Resolution, the Centre to Advance Multilingualism in Cyberspace was established in Yakutsk under the North-Eastern Federal University named after M. K. Ammosov. The Centre aims at the study and promotion of multilingualism in cyberspace and sharing its experience with the world at large.

The 2nd conference “Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace” will take place on 12-14 July, 2011 in Yakutsk, the capital city of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

The Conference builds on the recognition of the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity in the digital world and addresses political, cultural, social, ethical and technological aspects of activities aimed to support and develop linguistic and cultural diversity. The discussions will focus on policies, standards and tools necessary to ensure linguistic and cultural diversity preservation and on specific tools of multilingualism promotion.

Conference Convenors

  • Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Program
  • North-Eastern Federal University (Yakutsk)
  • Interregional Library Cooperation Centre
  • MAAYA World Network for Linguistic Diversity
  • Union Latine

Financial support

  • North-Eastern Federal University (Yakutsk)
  • Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation
  • UNESCO
  • Interregional Library Cooperation Centre

Conference Objectives

  1. to discuss strategies and mechanisms of promoting multilingualism as a means of strengthening access to information
  2.  to discuss national policies on the issue of language survival in cyberspace
  3. to discuss practical measures for implementing existing normative instruments (UNESCO 2003 Recommendation concerning the Promotion of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace)
  4. to engage all stakeholders in an international partnership for the promotion of multilingualism
  5. to consider collaboration and cooperation in the development of tools to promote linguistic and cultural diversity
  6. to encourage the public and private sectors and the civil society at local, national, regional and international levels to work to provide the necessary resources and take the necessary measures to alleviate language barriers and promote human interaction on the Internet
  7. to encourage the development and local adaptation of operating systems, search engines and web browsers with extensive multilingual capabilities, automated translation services, online dictionaries and terminologies
  8. to engage governments, international organizations, information and communication technology industries and civil society to a World Summit on Multilingualism
  9. to plan the creation of a collaborative online observatory on existing policies, regulations, technical recommendations, and best practices relating to multilingualism promotion.

Session Topics

  • Digital Multilingualism for the Construction of Inclusive Societies
  • Public Policies on Languages in Cyberspace
  • Developing Legal and Institutional Instruments to Support Multilingualism
  • Implementing existing normative instruments (UNESCO 2003 Recommendation concerning the Promotion of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace)
  • Using the Internet to Counter the Marginalisation of Languages
  • Multilingualism as an Internet Governance Issue
  • Cyberspace and Education in Mother Tongue
  • Multilingualism and Information Literacy
  • Tools and techniques to ensure the presence in cyberspace of languages that are currently underrepresented or absent.

Special attention will be paid to the presentation and discussion of a new educational, political and practical guide Net.Lang, Towards the Multilingual Cyberspace, prepared by the MAAYA Network with the support of UNESCO, Union Latine, ANLoc and IDRC. The Russian IFAP Committee and North-Eastern Federal University plan to translate the Guide into Russian and publish it.

The event could be seen as a preparatory meeting for the World Summit on Multilingualism. A session of the Summit’s preparatory committee is to be held during the conference.

Endorsement of partnership agreements between IFAP, MAAYA World Network for Linguistic Diversity, Union Latine and North-Eastern Federal University is expected.

Conference envisages plenary meetings, roundtables and a session of stand reports.

Russian and English will be its working languages.

Registration and Conference fees are not charged.

Participants

The conference will gather some 100 experts from 25 countries of all continents, representing international organizations, government agencies, educational research and cultural institutions, civil society organizations, professional associations and ICT industries, etc.

The list of expected foreign participants includes representatives of the MAAYA Network, Union Latine, African Academy of Languages, Funredes, Mercator European Research Centre, French National Centre for Scientific Research, Nagaoka University of Technology, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL International), etc.