UNESCO addresses challenges of a multilingual cyberspace
A round table and a high-level meeting on Russia’s language policy and the situation of the multilingualism in the world was held in Moscow on 17 and 18 November at the ITAR-TASS News Agency, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme, and the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre.
High on the agenda were the following topics: access to information in a truly multilingual cyberspace; the promotion of formal and informal open online education in all languages; and the development of the Russian language and the languages of some 100 indigenous peoples of Russian Federation.
Dr Boyan Radoykov, from UNESCO’s Knowledge Societies Division, Communication and Information Sector, addressed the participants and presented the work done by the Information for All Programme (IFAP) under its priority concerning the promotion of multilingualism, which is closely related to the topic of access to information and knowledge in cyberspace. He announced that UNESCO is in the process of developing a World Atlas of Languages, which also demonstrates the use of technology for development. This new online tool will not only provide reliable information about languages endangerment and vitality, but will also help to draw attention to the importance of UNESCO’s normative work in this area. Mr Radoykov also emphasized that for UNESCO cultural diversity and multilingualism have a central role to play in fostering pluralistic, equitable, open and inclusive knowledge societies
Members and heads of the presidential and governmental authorities and institutions, journalists and leading experts from Russia and other countries, were invited to attend this event, which built on achievements of UNESCO/IFAP major international events on multilingualism in cyberspace organized worldwide over the past few years.
Speakers at the event also included: Mr Veniamin Kaganov, Deputy Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation; Ms Eleonora Mitrofanova, Ambassador-at-large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Mr Evgeny Kuzmin, Deputy Chair, Intergovernmental Council, UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP); Vladimir Grigoriev, Deputy Head, Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications; Mr Gilvan Müller de Oliveira, Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil; Ms Snezhana Todorova, President of the Union of Bulgarian journalists, Bulgaria; Mr Mohamed El-Guindy, Egypt TV, Cairo; Mr Prabhakar Rao Jandhyala, Professor, University of Hyderabad, India.
The participants were invited to visit leading research institutes and universities in Moscow engaged in linguistic studies and the promotion of the use of languages in formal and non-formal education.
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