UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning: multilingual education and multilingual literate environments

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Tue Feb 10 21:50:42 UTC 2009

 Forwarded From: Glanz, Christine <c.glanz at unesco.org>

Dear group members,

I would like to share with you the outcomes of some of the UNESCO
Institute for Lifelong Learning activities for the promotion of a
multilingual ethos, policies and strategies, especially in Africa but
also in other regions. Africa is currently the priority region of
UNESCO. We hope to inspire and be inspired and especially increase our
networking and collaboration with researchers.

I participated in the AILA conference in Essen and was accepted to
become a member of this group although I am currently not working as a
researcher in a university but as a Programme Specialist at UNESCO
Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL). Before joining UIL I worked as
a researcher in African language studies and in various educational
programmes for young people and adults.

UIL is one of UNESCO's six specialised institutes and was founded
after the Second World War. It promotes lifelong learning policies and
practices with a focus on adult and continuing education, especially
literacy, non-formal education and alternative learning opportunities
for marginalized and disadvantaged groups. Its mission is to see to
that all forms of education and learning – formal, non-formal and
informal– are recognized, valued and available for meeting the demands
of individuals and communities throughout the world. The institute
responds to these demands with policy-driven research,
capacity-building, networking, publications and technical services for
Member States and non-governmental and civil society organisations, as
well as private providers at their request. UIL's current two main
programmes are the Literacy for Empowerment Initiative (LIFE) which
serves 35 countries in different regions and the Sixth International
Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) hosted by the Government
of Brazil in Belém from 19 to 22 May 2009.

In the context of the United Nations Literacy Decade and the LIFE
framework, we were part of the organisers of the intergovernmental
Regional Conferences in Support of Global Literacy. The involvement of
First Ladies was a special feature of the conferences and had
attracted a lot of political attention.

In Africa, the result of the conference was the Bamako Call to Action
on which we have built subsequently (please find it attached). The
conference report as well as a brochure on effective literacy
programmes (where language plays a major role) are available in
English and French on our website (see link below).

For the Latin American conference country studies on mother
tongue-based bilingual education have been presented and are about to
be published.

The intergovernmental Preparatory Regional Conferences for CONFINTEA
VI have built with regard to the literacy thematic on the prior
regional conferences. Language is a transversal issue in policies and
strategies, learning and education. I am attaching as an example the
African Statement in English; all documents can be downloaded in
English and French from the CONFINTEA VI website.

Two publications on mother tongue-based multilingual education are due
and we hope to disseminate them in the first half of 2009.

Furthermore, for a Special Issue of the International Review of
Education we are currently searching for innovative multilingual
programmes in all the world regions. The focus of the issue will be on
innovative and effective bi- and multilingual education programmes
that take language acquisition principles into account and foster the
development of additive bi- or multilingualism among learners. Such
programmes and the related policy framework are based on the view that
multilingualism is a resource. In case you know of such a programme or
have published on it, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I hope I have not overloaded this email and I am looking forward to
exchanging with you.

Yours sincerely,

Christine Glanz


Programme Specialist

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)

Institut de l'UNESCO pour l'apprentissage tout au long de la vie

Feldbrunnenstr. 58

D-20148 Hamburg, Germany

Tel. +49-(0)40-44 80 41-23

Fax +49-(0)40-410 77 23

email: c.glanz at unesco.org


Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI),
Brazil, from 19 to 22 May 2009:


CONFINTEA VI Regional Conference for the African Region (2008):

African Regional Conference in Support of Global Literacy (2007):



 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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