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November 9-11, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand
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Today :
Thematic Tracks



The conference features four thematic tracks, which incorporate language and education as crosscutting themes:


  1. Language and Universal Primary Education (MDG 2/EFA1,2,6)

This track is based on the idea that languages are dynamic because people and their culture constantly adapt in response to the world around them. Language-based development is a tool that can help build a communication bridge between local and global communities. Primary education programs that begin in the mother tongue help students gain literacy and numeracy skills more quickly. When taught in their local language, students readily transfer literacy skills to official languages of education, acquiring essential tools for life-long learning. The results are the growth of self esteem and a community that is better equipped to become literate in languages of wider communication.

  • Linguistic and cultural considerations in strategies that seek to achieve universal primary education
  • Access and retention of children speaking non-dominant versus dominant languages in primary education
  • Role of learners’ first language (L1) – or mother tongue – versus languages of wider communication (national, official or international languages) in primary education
  • Multilingual education as a way towards universal primary education (UPE)
  • Language in early childhood education and development: multilingual education to facilitate smooth integration into primary school
  • Relationship between adult literacy in L1 and UPE
  • Integration of local language and culture effectively into education policies and programs

  1. Language and Gender Equality (MDG 3/EFA 5)

This track aims to raise awareness and enhance the knowledge on the critical linkages between language and gender, and the way in which language impacts the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Language can be a force to enhance or restrict individuals’ opportunities to development; as it interacts with an array of cultures and practices, the role language plays can be influenced by the sex of the user and the gender role expectations and relationship embedded in the community. For women and girls from ethno-linguistic communities, language differences can pose a serious barrier to accessing education and to fully participating in political, social and economic activities, hence restricting their opportunities to development. When traditional values and systems in some communities continue to place limited value on the rights and empowerment of women and girls, information and education in languages other than their mother tongue can limit their opportunities to basic social services, quality education and life-long learning as women and girls are less exposed to the society beyond their community. Limited access to education due to language barrier is of particular concern, as education offers one of the best means to overcoming deeply rooted gender biases and discrimination. Therefore, gender sensitive language policies and the use of mother-tongue teaching in education are not only crucial for ensuring access to education for all but also promoting gender equality and social equity. Track 2 provides a forum to explore these issues and identify ways to ensure language policies are gender sensitive, while effectively integrating linguistic and cultural considerations in policies and services to promote gender equality in education, political, social and economic participation.

  • Linguistic and cultural considerations in strategies to promote gender equality and empower women
  • The role of life-long learning in overcoming gender biases and discrimination, including how lifelong learning empowers both girls and boys, women and men
  • Situation of women and girls in ethnolinguistic minority communities relative to their counterparts in dominant language speaking communities
  • Ways that local language and culture have been effectively integrated in policies and programs to ensure equitable development opportunities, improved status and treatment of both sexes

  1. Language, Health, Nutrition and Protection (MDGs 4,5,6/EFA 3,4 )

The aim of this track is to promote enhanced knowledge and awareness of the critical linkages between language and health, nutrition, and protection. For ethnic minorities whose local language differs from the country’s official language, the impact on their health and well-being can be profound. Language differences can act as barriers that restrict individuals’ access to essential nutrition, health and protection services and also jeopardize their quality. More broadly, language differences can impinge upon their engagement in policy development processes and the extent to which they recognize the relevant policy provisions, resulting in limited demand for and utilization of services. Thus, policies, practices and messages that are attuned to linguistic and cultural needs of communities are critical levers to promoting positive health and well-being of disadvantaged ethnic minorities. Track 2 will provide a forum to identify gaps and challenges as well as potential pathways to effectively integrating linguistic and cultural considerations in policy and service provisions for improved nutrition, health and protection of individuals.

  • Evidence and support for integrating local language and culture into policies and programs on health, nutrition and protection
  • Providing equitable access to appropriate health and social welfare services for ethnolinguistic minority communities
  • Utilizing language and culture to build good knowledge and practice for early childhood care and reproductive health
  • Linguistic and cultural strategies to minimize the impact of communicable diseases (i.e. HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria)
  • Professional social work practices across languages and cultures to prevent and respond to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • Community-based mechanisms (e.g. diversion and restorative justice programs) to uphold the rights of children in ethnolinguistic minority communities

  1. Language and Sustainable Development (MDGs 1,7/EFA 3, 4)

The goal of this track is to provide understanding and in-depth analysis of the role and contribution of language in promoting and achieving sustainable development with focus on poverty reduction and environmental conservation strategies. Even within a country, a large number of languages are spoken and used for communication and social interaction, and also officially used and accepted. The communication process becomes further complicated when a country is ethnically diverse and crisscrossed by a variety of local languages/dialects, quite different from regional/state and national languages. Language as a communication and interaction tool may either facilitate or restrict access to resources to alleviate extreme poverty and mitigate environmental degradation. Interaction with the indigenous and local people through a common language strengthens participation in community-based programs on poverty and environment-focused development activities.

  • Language diversity and intangible cultural heritage in poverty reduction and environmental preservation strategies
  • Language as a determinant of access to resources to alleviate extreme poverty and hunger, or mitigate environmental degradation
  • Role of language in adult education and poverty reduction
  • Language and participation in poverty reduction programs
  • Community-based approaches to poverty reduction and environmental sustainability
  • Drawing on language and culture to expand access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities


Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia (RILCA)
SIL International
Southeast Asian Ministers
of Education Organization
Save the Childern
Royal Thai Institute
Royal Thai Institute
ASEAN Regional Center of Excellence on Millennium Development Goals
ASEAN Regional Center of Excellence on Millennium Development Goals
Asia South Pacific Association For Basic and Adult Education
Asia South Pacific Association For Basic and Adult Education
© Language Conference 2010