3rd International Conference on Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace

Dr. Maik Gibson (center) with fellow conference participants from India and Sri Lanka.

(July 2014) The 3rd International Conference on Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace recently brought 138 participants from nearly fifty countries to the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in the Russian Federation. Two SIL linguists were among the experts who presented research on matters related to minority languages, technology and equality in information access.

The main themes of the conference included:

  • Using Information and Communication Technologies for the preservation of linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace
  • Socio-cultural aspects of linguistic diversity in cyberspace
  • Preservation of linguistic and cultural diversity—national vision and national experience
  • Education for the preservation of linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace
     

At the opening ceremony F. Gabysheva, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic, and Getachew Engida, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, welcomed conference participants. A number of other government representatives also attended.

Dr. Maik Gibson, a Senior Sociolinguistics Consultant for SIL, gave a plenary address on the first morning of the conference. Entitled, “A framework for measuring the presence of minority languages in cyberspace,” his presentation focused on the need to create an environment that encourages the use of minority languages for texting and social media. Gibson also served as the moderator for one of the presentation sessions. Dr. Mark Karan, SIL International Sociolinguistics Coordinator and Senior Sociolinguistics Consultant gave a presentation entitled, “The role of motivational alignment in preserving and developing languages: Effective use of wikis, blog posts, Tweets and text messages.”

In addition to attending the formal presentations and discussion times, conference participants also had the opportunity to enjoy the local culture during visits to sites of interest, such as the Lena Pillars, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The conference concluded with the presentation of the Russian translation of Net.Lang: Towards the Multilingual Cyberspace and the appointment of a committee to finalize a document which will detail resolutions for continuing efforts needed to reach the conference’s goals.

Conference organizers included:

  • Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme (IFAP)
  • M.K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University
  • Interregional Library Cooperation Centre


Supporting organizations included: 

  • Russian Federation Ministry of Culture
  • Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications
  • Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)
  • Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO


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