Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger There will be no reduction, much less eradication, of poverty, so long as grassroots actors aren’t empowered in their own language(s), which should be ordinary tools for working, learning, and transforming their environment in the broadest sense of the word. World hunger will be reduced by mobilizing peasant communities. But these communities speak local languages, which at most describe their land, their culture, and regional fruits and vegetables. The expert panel the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development 4 indicated in its 2008 report that nearly one billion people go to bed hungry.
The panel believes that the best fight this is to encourage small businesses, and to bring knowledge, technology, and credit to rural communities 5.
Knowledge must be expressed in languages these peasant communities can understand, assimilate, and enrich with their own knowledge set.
Here we see language’s direct impact on the reduction of world hunger.
Achieve universal primary education There can be no high-quality universal primary education without the implementation of bi- and multilingual education, with the mother tongue as its basis 6. We are beginning to see the capacity for cyberspace to expand education for all. But a great risk exists, insofar as the manuals, examples, and models are conceived and written in dominant languages and for the cultures of the most developed countries. Accessing scientific concepts in one’s native language, and translating them only later into other languages, allows for improved internalisation of ideas and a genuine exchange of knowledge.
Teachers often learn multiple languages, both for their university coursework and for interacting with their pupils. To this effect, teacher trainings 4 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development/IAASTD. http://www.agassessment.org 5 Mark Kinver, “Global Food System Must Change”, BBC News, 15 April 2008. http:// news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7347239.stm.
6 See in this book : Marcel Diki-Kidiri, Cyberspace and Mother Tongue Education.
Adama Samasskou may benefit greatly from ict. The same goes for sharing curricula and educational resources. The Open Educational Resources 7, which allow for their translation and re-use in other contexts, constitute powerful tools for achieving this goal by way of a multilingual cyberspace.
Promote gender equality and empower women The un indicators for reporting on progress in this domain are 8 :
– the ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary and higher education ;
– the literacy rate of women ages 15 to 24 compared to men of the same age group ;
– the percentage of women employed in the non-agricultural sector ;
– the proportion of seats held by women in national parliament.
For all these criteria, the issue of the number of known languages seems crucial. While these criteria are far from being met, the education of girls and women is steadily spreading. But many obstacles persist when it comes to obtaining an education beyond the primary level. For this, distance learning is a potential tool. However, education has to be taught in the languages of its learners, and to offer the possibility of translation.
Particular attention should be paid to ict education for women, either in formal education or in women-oriented technology learning groups.
To promote this type of collective work, women must be able to interact in their own language and use the tools in either their own or a regional language. But most software and services come in so-called major languages, creating further barriers. A localizing effort for software 9 will increase the capabilities of icts and cyberspace to support this goal that is central to world equality.
Reduce child mortality rates ;
Improve maternal health These two goals are interrelated. Welcoming children into the world should be one of society’s greatest achievements. But women in developing 7 Capetown Open Education Declaration, http://www.capetowndeclaration.org.
8 http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Host.aspx Content=indicators %2fofficiallist.htm 9 See in this book : Dwayne Bailey, Open Source and Free Content : Powerful Tools for Language Activists.
Adama Samasskou countries are at risk during the period from pregnancy through childbirth ;
and a child born in a developing country is 13 times more likely to die in its first 5 years than a child born in an industrialized country.
In this case as well, much progress has been made, particularly in having caregivers present during labour, and in preventing treatable diseases that can be particularly severe in young children, such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and measles.
Reducing mother and infant mortality is closely linked to children’s and mothers’ awareness of public health messages, which is facilitated when those messages are written in their own languages. The community’s ability to regain confidence in its own endogenous set of knowledge, skill, and wisdom, which goes back centuries and is embedded in its language, is similarly crucial.
There is room for improvement in the use of multimedia 10 to enhance the dissemination of public health messages tailored to the real conditions women and children in the poorest cities and villages. Overdubbing and using a country’s national language are two examples of this.
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases Similar comments can be made about stopping and reversing the spread of hiv/aids, malaria, and other epidemic diseases. Despite advances in medicine and antiretroviral drugs, aids remains a wound on developing countries. hiv prevention messages, the use of contraception, and sex education remain the essential means of countering the disease’s spread.
The cultural dissemination of this mindset, at an unprecedented scale, is facilitated by cyberspace. Connecting community radio stations facilitates the exchange of statements, interviews, and public service announcements with musicians and cultural figures can help lead to prevention. In Africa, radio remains the most widely used medium for communicating information, but the internet can be used to build community radio stations if care is simultaneously taken to develop multilingualism.
For all infectious diseases, cyberspace is a very effective tool for prevention and treatment because of its ability to widely distribute cutting-edge medical research. Medical teams in developing countries must be able to 10 See in this book : Tunde Adegbola, Multimedia and Signed, Written or Oral Languages.
Adama Samasskou access to the latest research and study results. The entire chain of health care, from the university to the clinic, need to have medical knowledge sharing. Free access to medical literature 11, and the translations of key results into the greatest possible number of languages, transforms multilingual cyberspace into a catalyst for improved medical practices worldwide, including in those places that are farthest from research centres and advanced hospitals.
In general, advances in telemedicine in a country like Mali open up excellent prospects for the remote management of disease, and for patients’ ability to more comfortably explain their illness in their own languages, especially rural areas poorly equipped with medical facilities.
Ensure environmental sustainability The environment is the product of a cultural relationship to nature. Each society is involved in the protection of biodiversity, and unfortunately its destruction at times, through physical action onto the surrounding world. But this relationship also occurs through myths and legends, as well as research and writings, that shape people’s minds. The use of traditional practices, and their related worldviews based on harmony and respect for nature, have survived for centuries via oral tradition in local languages, and can make environmental issues more familiar and quickly appropriated.
By allowing these worldviews to cohabit, which resurrects for urbanites the long wire connecting them to nature, cyberspace becomes a conductive thread making society aware of the dangers posed by global climate change and an eroding biodiversity.
It is also by documenting environmental damage, and spreading the information beyond the places directly affected, that multilingual cyberspace can catalyze a global environmental consciousness.
11 Leslie Chan, Subbiah Arunachalam & Barbara Kirsop, The chain of communication in health science : from researcher to health worker through open access, Open medicine, 2009, 3(3), p. 11-19.
Adama Samasskou Develop a global partnership for development How can we develop multi-stakeholder partnerships that are fruitful for global and local development without sharing the language of communication The new knowledge society is being built, with icts as its cement. How can we ensure that it is fully inclusive, leaving out no stratum, community, or society CONCLUSION The primary societies covered by the mdgs are also those that have not yet entered digital culture. This is largely because the digital divide is repeated as a language gap : their languages have not yet been established online.
How can we ensure that every language can be used in cyberspace as a means of communication, production, and information and knowledge sharing, as recommended by the World Summit on the Information Society (wsis) In light of the transversal nature of the language question for achieving the mdgs, integrating multilingualism as a new mdg is essential :
– Multilingualism, strengthening the capacity of plural societies ;
– Multilingualism, enabling the consolidation of multiple identities and reinforcing societal development ;
– Multilingualism, building confidence in populations, building a true dialogue between cultures, guarantor of social cohesion, peace, and mutual understanding.
If multilingualism can accelerate the rate at which we achieve the mdgs, then it must itself become the ninth Millennium Development Goal.
Adama Samasskou MULTILINGUALISM ON THE INTERNET :
A MULTILATERAL ISSUE PART The question of languages in cyberspace is a political issue at the multilateral level. From defining standards of network governance up to the relationship between the defence of multilingualism and Human Rights, languages represent major benchmarks in the Information Society.
ISABELLA PIERANGELI BORLETTI DESCRIBING THE WORLD :
MULTILINGUALISM, THE INTERNET, AND HUMAN RIGHTS Promotion and protection of multilingualism on the Internet, how does it figure in the international architecture of Human Rights To develop the legal issues of multilingualism in cyberspace, it is necessary to assess possible links between the philosophy of law, the theory of speech acts and transcultural universals in relation to the uses of the internet and the web. What would be the nature of a linguistic human right How can we define its nature and scope How can we change the legal regimes, public or private, local or international, that have effects on cyberspace Celui qui a voulu que l’homme ft sociable toucha du doigt l’axe du globe et l’inclina sur l’axe de l’univers.
Jean Jacques Rousseau Essai sur l’origine des langues, uvres, Belin, Paris, 1817.
Original article in English.
ISABELLA PIERANGELI BORLETTI holds a doctorate in International Law and European Union Law from the University of Pisa. She is a visiting scholar at the Social Science Insitute of the Ankara University (Turkey) where she teaches Pubilc International Law, International Organizations and European Union Law.
his article considers the potential of national, regional and international legal trends promoting and protecting multilingualism on Tthe internet within a human rights framework. A full exploration requires understanding the links between public and private international law, together with social norms and cultural universals regarding internet use worldwide.
Online development’s increasing speed brings into consideration a number of human rights issues, including that of multilingualism 1 as an intrinsic element of cultural diversity. If multilingualism is considered a human right, then protecting the individual and collective rights of linguistic minorities in cyberspace is a means through which other internationally recognized human rights can be guaranteed, including the rights to education, development, and freedom of expression, and the right to seek and receive information. Failing to fully recognize online multilingualism hampers enjoyment of these rights.
An analysis of current thinking and of the national and international legal tools adopted by states and international organizations, can shed light on the extent to which human rights, the Internet and multilingualism are related or disconnected concepts, and provide a basis for future framing of the issue.
1 For the sake of clarity it is better to define how multilingualism differs from plurilingualism as defined by the Council of Europe in the Language Education Policy, http://www.coe.int/t/ dg4/linguistic/division_EN.asp. Multilingualism refers to the presence in a geographical area, large or small, of more than one variety of language, that is, a social group mode of speaking whether or not it is formally recognized as a language ; in such an area individuals may be monolingual, speaking only their own variety. Plurilingualism refers to the repertoire of languages used by many individuals. It is therefore the opposite of monolingualism, including a ‘mother tongue’ or ‘first language’ and any number of other linguistic varieties.
In multilingual areas, some individuals are monolingual and others plurilingual.
Isabella Pierangeli Borletti THE INTERNET AND HUMAN RIGHTS Email, blogging, search engines, online shopping and podcasts do not necessarily implicate all human rights, but the internet rapid development in society raises numerous human rights concerns, including civil, political, economic and social rights on both individual and collective dimensions. This discussion thus necessites a transversal approach.
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