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Entries Tagged as 'CFP'

CFP: Language, the SDGs, and Vulnerable Populations

SDG logoThe Study Group on Language at the United Nations, in cooperation with the Centre for Research and Documentation on World Language Problems and the Center for Applied Linguistics, will again this year hold a two-day symposium (11-12 May 2017) on language and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I reproduce below the call for participation (CFP) based on versions seen on the Language Policy List and Linguist List. The contact person is Prof. Humphrey Tonkin. Note the call deadline of 28 February.

This blog previously featured the CFP for the April 2016 Language & SDGs symposium and its program. The Final Report of that symposium is available on the Study Group’s site.


Language, the Sustainable Development Goals, and Vulnerable Populations

New York, NY, USA • Thursday-Friday, May 11-12, 2017

What issues of language and communication are raised, or should be raised, by the efforts of the United Nations to reach the most vulnerable populations through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) approved by the UN in 2015? Particular attention will be given to language issues surrounding refugees and their children, migrants, and minority communities.

When the UN General Assembly unanimously approved the 17 SDGs 2015-2030, proponents foresaw a comprehensive and cooperative effort extending beyond the United Nations and its Member States to incorporate civil society in general. The SDGs, they said, should “leave no one behind” and should emerge from a dialogue in which all parties collaborate in a spirit of equality. Moreover, the most vulnerable populations need to be first on the agenda.

These vulnerable populations speak a multiplicity of languages often little understood by development specialists, and they are often isolated or neglected, and unconnected to those who seek to help. Reaching them requires reaching across languages, and it implies listening to their concerns, freely expressed. Is the UN ready for such an effort? Though the SDGs are largely silent on language issues, sustainability requires two-way, democratic communication in multiple languages.

The world is witnessing the largest population movement since World War II: refugees who must be returned to their homes or resettled, displaced children who need education, migrants who must acquire new languages to become productive in new circumstances. In negotiating their way in foreign environments, they must deal with officials who often do not know their languages. The SDGs identify problems but say little about reaching these populations.

To carry out the SDGs through dialogue and understanding, we must reach vulnerable populations in languages they understand. Preserving cultural identity while communicating across languages must become a recognized issue: we must educate through languages young people understand, deliver health care comprehensibly, and reach refugees and migrants through comprehensible dialogue. Attaining all seventeen SDGs requires mutual comprehension at every level.

The Study Group on Language and the UN drew attention to the absence of language issues in formulating the SDGs through a symposium it organized in April 2016 and a subsequent report. We return to this topic in our 2017 symposium, but with special stress on vulnerable populations.

The organizers welcome proposals for 20-minute papers on topics linking the SDGs with vulnerable populations, such as:

  • Language as a factor in sustainable development
  • Language policy for refugees, migrants, and displaced populations
  • Language & migration
  • Language as it relates to race, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, economic status, or other factors
  • Language & education of refugees and migrants
  • Language & quality education for vulnerable populations (Goal 4)
  • Language & mother-tongue education (Goal 4)
  • Language & gender equality (Goal 5)
  • Language & economic growth (Goal 8)
  • Language & reducing inequalities (Goal 10)
  • Language & peace & justice (Goal 16)
  • NGOs, language & vulnerable populations
  • UN language policy & implementation of the SDGs
  • The role of regional or minority languages
  • Language & stateless nations

Please send proposals (200 words or less, accompanied by a biography of approximately 50 words) to the chair of the symposium organizing committee, Prof. Humphrey Tonkin, at tonkin (at) hartford (dot) edu, by February 28, 2017.  The committee expects to make final decisions on the program by March 15.

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Terralingua’s Langscape, CFP extended

Terralingua has extended the deadline for submission of proposed articles for the next edition of its Langscape magazine until 1 August 2016.

Terralingua's Langscape logoThis is for a second issue on the theme of “Voices of the Earth” (Vol. 5, #2, Winter 2016). See earlier post on this blog about the previous issue for discussion of the theme.

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Terralingua “returns to its roots” (a CFP)

Terralingua's logoLangscape, the magazine of the NGO Terralingua, just extended the deadline of the call for abstracts for its spring issue. Extracts from the call (with February 7 deadline!) are copied below, but what caught my eye about this particular issue was how its theme, “Voices of the Earth,” was framed as “going back” to Terralingua’s roots.

I first learned of Terralingua shortly after it was founded in the late 1990s when its slogan was “Partnerships for Linguistic and Biological Diversity” (the call copied below explains how the organization’s name comes from linking those two concepts). Its active concern with connections between languages and biodiversity was, if not unique, certainly uncommon. At the time I found it a source of inspiration for some of my evolving thinking about connections among agriculture, language, environment, education, and technology.

Terralingua and its director, Dr. Luisa Maffi, have continued to do interesting research in the area now known as “biocultural diversity.” Langscape is one of the organization’s activities.

In any event, it is good to see the focus of the upcoming issue of Langscape on the linguistic diversity/biodiversity links within the larger system. The following is adapted from the full call for abstracts (refer to the full call if you are considering submitting).


Call For Abstracts

Langscape Volume 5, Issue 1, Spring 2016
“Voices of the Earth”

Abstract Submission Deadline: EXTENDED TO February 7, 2016

This year, Terralingua turns twenty!  We came into the world two decades ago, with a unique mission: to sustain biocultural diversity – the interconnected and interdependent diversity of life in nature and culture.

To celebrate this milestone, we are “going back to our roots” with the theme for the next issue of Langscape Magazine (Spring 2016):  “Voices of the Earth”.

In 1996, we chose the name Terralingua to suggest two things at once: the language of the Earth – the voice of Mother Nature; and the languages of the Earth – the many voices of the world’s diverse peoples, which have evolved through intimate interaction with the Earth in particular places.  When that bond is strong, the Earth is healthy, and so are we.  When we lose that bond, the Earth is weakened, and we are weakened with her.

Here are some possible (but not the only!) questions for the “Voices of the Earth” theme:

  • How are language and the environment connected?  How is language shaped by human relationships with nature, and how is nature shaped by language?
  • How does each language reflect the specific natural features of the place in which it evolved?  How does it express people’s relationship with nature in that particular place?
  • How do words, stories, myths, oral histories, and other verbal expressions convey traditional knowledge and wisdom, cultural values, and spiritual beliefs about the link between people and nature?
  • Is there an “inner language” that connects us to the Earth and bonds us to specific places?  What happens to our individual and collective well-being when that bond is broken?
  • How does language loss affect our relationship with nature?  And how does environmental change affect the resilience of languages?
  • What do we do to reawaken a language when its voice is fading?
  • What is the voice of the Earth telling us about our environmental predicament?  And what are the voices of the Earth saying about it?

Contributions to Langscape may take different forms, either text-driven or artwork-driven…

Please submit your Abstract – your idea for a contribution, in 1-2 paragraphs maximum – NO LATER THAN FEBRUARY 7, 2016, using the submission form accessed through the “Submit Here” link below.  Please attach your document in Word .doc or .docx formats only.
After reviewing all abstracts, we will let you know by February  9  whether we would like to invite you to submit a full contribution.

PLEASE NOTE:  An invitation to submit a full contribution does not mean that your contribution is already accepted for publication. It means that we are interested in your idea and would like to see your full submission.

IMPORTANT: Be aware that Langscape does not publish formal scientific or technical papers.  We seek contributions that, while based on solid scholarship, express concepts in accessible language and in a literary rather than academic style.  Tell a story!

[Full call for abstracts]  [Page for uploading submissions]

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CFP: Language and the SDGs

An upcoming symposium in New York on 21-22 April 2016 will address “Language and the Sustainable Development Goals.” This offers an  opportunity to address specific aspects of the importance of languages in international development.

The following call for papers is copied from the website of the Study Group on Language and the United Nations which is organizing the symposium along with the Centre for Research and Documentation on World Language Problems and the Center for Applied Linguistics. Note the deadline of 15 February. (Minor formatting changes.)


Call for Papers:

A Symposium on Language and the Sustainable Development Goals

on Thursday & Friday, April 21 & 22, 2016

at the Church Center, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017

(First Avenue at 44th Street), Thurs. 1:00-5:00; Fri. 9:15-5:00

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals approved by the United Nations General Assembly for the period 2015-2030 (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/) replace the eight Millennium Development Goals that covered the period 2000-2015. They aim to engage not only governments, but “all people, everywhere,” at all levels of civil society. Carrying them out will require active, two-way, democratic communication, in a multiplicity of languages. Furthermore, several of the Goals imply direct attention to issues of language. Study and research on language in relation to economic and social development is a well-established field. What does this field have to contribute to the realization of the SDGs? What linguistic obstacles stand in the way of their successful realization?

The organizers welcome proposals for brief 20-minute papers on topics linked to the SDGs, such as:

  • Language as a factor in sustainable development
  • Language as a factor in the realization of the SDGs
  • Language revival and maintenance in relation to the SDGs
  • Language and quality education (Goal 4)
  • Language and mother-tongue education (Goal 4)
  • Language and gender equality (Goal 5)
  • Language and economic growth (Goal 8)
  • Language and reduced inequalities (Goal 10)
  • Language and peace & justice (Goal 16)
  • Cooperation in the fulfilment of the SDGs (Goal 17)
  • NGOs and language policy in relation to the SDGs
  • UN language policy and the SDGs

Please send proposals (200 words or less, accompanied by an approximately 50-word biography) to the chair of the symposium organizing committee, Prof. Humphrey Tonkin, at tonkin [at] hartford [dot] edu, by February 15, 2016. The committee expects to make final decisions on the program by March 1.

Online Registration Form for the Symposium

Event Documents for the Symposium

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