International Conference Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace

73_1Yakutsk, Russian Federation (12-14 July 2011)

The 2nd International Conference Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace took place on 12-14 July, 2011, in Yakutsk, Russian Federation. It might be seen as one of the key events within the framework of the Russian chairmanship in the UNESCO Information for All Programme.

The event was organized by the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme, the North-Eastern Federal University, the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre, the MAAYA World Network for Linguistic Diversity, and Latin Union with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, UNESCO and the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO.

The Conference offered a unique opportunity for the delegates to share international best practice in the policies, standards and instruments for the preservation and development of linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace. In particular the following topics were discussed:

  • 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.

Holding this Conference is also significant for consolidating and further developing the UNESCO Information for All Programme which was established primarily for providing guidance to all of the UNESCO Member States involved in building an inclusive pluralistic information society, i.e. a society where the most essential information is generally accessible, where equal access is granted to quality education, and where freedom of expression, respect to cultural and linguistic diversity are ensured.

The Conference professional programme was structured so as to highlight three decisive factors for the development of languages in cyberspace, namely: instruments for language promotion in cyberspace; institutions that are actively involved in the promotion of these instruments; and creation of favorable environment. It is essential to adopt effective ethno-linguistic and ethno-cultural policies embracing a set of scientifically proven, efficient, consecutive and interactive measures focused on the empowerment and active involvement of all stakeholder institutions. These institutions shall be legally charged with ensuring protection, free expression and development of linguistic, ethno-cultural and religious identity of ethnic communities; preservation and promotion of their moral values, traditions and all types of folklore; extension of the application of national languages; and actual confirmation of the principles of cultural pluralism, bi- and multilingualism, including their application in education.

The conference gathered about 100 experts from over 30 countries of all continents, including Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Japan, India, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, UK, USA. International organizations were presented by Mr. Indrajit Banerjee, Director of the Knowledge Society Division, UNESCO Communication and Information Sector, and Mr. Alexander Ntoko, Head of the Corporate Strategy Division of the International Telecommunication Union.