The first-ever international forum to address the importance of multilingualism and linguistic diversity in the implementation of the sustainable development goals was successfully hosted in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russian Federation, from 5 to 9 June 2017, in the framework of the IX annual International IT Forum.
The event initiated by UNESCO’s Information for All Programme, was organized by the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme in cooperation with the Government of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area – Ugra, UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.
The Global Expert Meeting addressed the issues of importance, role and functions of multilingualism and linguistic diversity in the digital environment for progress along the way of inclusive sustainable development, and of the potential and limitations of the paradigm of sustainable development from the point of the increasing number of languages represented on the Internet, their quality, prospects for their existence, and activities in the relevant sphere. The meeting was called upon to promote expert information exchanges on the promotion of multilingualism in cyberspace and inclusive sustainable development, and serve as a platform for the dissemination of innovation theories and pioneer know-how in both spheres and on the borderline between them.
The Global Expert Meeting was attended by more than 100 experts from 36 countries – representatives of intergovernmental, international, regional and national nongovernment organizations, universities, research centres, state ruling bodies and cultural, educational, research, information and communication agencies.
The event worked in the format of opening and closing plenary sessions and four thematic discussions: “Linguistic and Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development Goals”, “Multilingualism and the Policy of its Maintenance and Development in Cyberspace”, “Multilingualism and Quality Education”, and “Cyberspace as the Environment for the Preservation of Linguistic and Cultural Identity”. The Roundtable “Contemporary Language Policy of the Russian Federation and the Situation of the Russian Language in the World” was held during the meeting as well.
The thematic discussion on multilingualism and quality education was one of the key event during the meeting. The discussion included the following speeches:
TITLESTAD Gard, Secretary General, International Council for Open and Distance Education (Oslo, Norway)
MUROVANA Tatiana, Programme Specialist, UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (Moscow, UNESCO)
SCHROEDLER Tobias, Postdoctoral Researcher and Research Project Coordinator, University of Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany)
- How can the Education System Facilitate Building Modern Society’s Multilingual Culture
TRUBINA Lyudmila, Vice-Rector, Moscow State University of Education (Moscow, Russia)
- Multilingualism in Cyberspace for Inclusive Sustainable Development: A Case of Implementation in Post-War Basic Education in the Central African Republic
DIKI-KIDIRI Marcel, Member, Executive Board, MAAYA World Network for Linguistic Diversity; Academician, African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) (Bangui, Central African Republic)
- Implementing Trilingual Education Policy: Kazakhstan Experience of Adapting Best Russian and Foreign Textbooks
NOVOSSELTSEVA Natalia, Head, Methodology Department, StudyInn Educational Holding (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
BOEKHORST Albert, Information Coordinator, IFLA; Vice-President (Association Relations), IASL; Research Fellow, University of Pretoria (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
- The Role of Multilingualism in Information Literacy
GORDON Dorothy, Chair, UNESCO IFAP Working Group for Information Literacy; Member, UNESCO IFAP Bureau (Accra, Ghana)
The thematic discussion was moderated by Yury Chiorny, Head of the Centre for Informatics Problems, Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Ramon Tuazon, President of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (Philippines); Сoetzee Bester, Director of the African Centre of Excellence for Information Ethics of the University of Pretoria (South Africa); and Maryam Nazari, Consultant of the Iranian Research Institute for Information Science and Technology IranDoc) (Tehran, Iran)
The Global Meeting was building upon the result of the debates on language preservation and the development of linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace organized at global, regional and national levels. Thus, nine major international events were held from 2008 to 2016, including five within the framework of the UNESCO Information for All Programme, which were focusing on the cultural, social and ethical aspects of research and development in the sphere of linguistic diversity in cyberspace and using ICT for effective language preservation.