Second International conference “Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace” to take place in Yakutsk, Russia


The 2nd International conference “Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace” will take place on 12-14 July, 2011 in Yakutsk, Russian Federation.

The conference is held in the framework of Russian chairmanship in IFAP.

The Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme, the North-Eastern Federal University, the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre, the MAAYA World Network for Linguistic Diversity, and Union Latine are principal organizers of the event. Financial support is provided by UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.

The conference builds on the recognition of the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity in the digital world and addresses political, cultural, social, ethical and technological aspects of activities aimed to support and develop linguistic and cultural diversity. The discussions will focus on policies and standards necessary to ensure linguistic and cultural diversity preservation and on specific tools of multilingualism promotion.

The conference will gather some 100 experts from about 35 countries of all continents, representing international organizations, government agencies, educational research and cultural institutions, civil society organizations, professional associations and ICT industries, etc.


Conference Objectives

  1. to discuss strategies and mechanisms of promoting multilingualism as a means of strengthening access to information
  2. to discuss national policies on the issue of language survival in cyberspace,
  3. to discuss practical measures for implementing existing normative instruments (UNESCO 2003 Recommendation concerning the Promotion of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace)
  4. to engage all stakeholders in an international partnership for the promotion of multilingualism
  5. to consider collaboration and cooperation in the development of tools to promote linguistic and cultural diversity;
  6. to encourage the public and private sectors and the civil society at local, national, regional and international levels to work to provide the necessary resources and take the necessary measures to alleviate language barriers and promote human interaction on the Internet
  7. to encourage the development and local adaptation of operating systems, search engines and web browsers with extensive multilingual capabilities, automated translation services, online dictionaries and terminologies.
  8. to engage governments, international organizations, information and communication technology industries and civil society to a World Summit on Multilingualism
  9. to plan the creation of a collaborative online observatory on existing policies, regulations, technical recommendations, and best practices relating to multilingualism promotion


Session Topics

  • Digital Multilingualism for the Construction of Inclusive Societies
  • Public Policies on Languages in Cyberspace
  • Developing Legal and Institutional Instruments to Support Multilingualism
  • Implementing existing normative instruments (UNESCO 2003 Recommendation concerning the Promotion of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace)
  • Using the Internet to Counter the Marginalisation of Languages
  • Multilingualism as an Internet Governance Issue
  • Cyberspace and Education in Mother Tongue
  • Multilingualism and Information Literacy
  • Tools and techniques to ensure the presence in cyberspace of languages that are currently underrepresented or absent


Conference envisages plenary meetings, roundtables and a session of stand reports. Russian and English will be its working languages.

The event is also seen as a preparatory meeting for a World Summit on Linguistic Diversity. A session of the Summit’s preparatory committee is to be held during the conference.

Endorsement of partnership agreements between IFAP and MAAYA (the World Network for Linguistic Diversity), Union Latine, the North-Eastern Federal University are expected.

Special attention will be paid to the presentation and discussion of educational, political and practical guide Net.Lang, Towards the Multilingual Cyberspace, prepared by the MAAYA Network with the support of UNESCO, Union Latine, ANLoc and IDRC. The Russian IFAP Committee and North-Eastern Federal University plan to translate the Guide into Russian and publish it.



Supporting the promotion of linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace offers possibilities to preserve languages, while ensuring wider and more equitable access to information.

As language is the primary vector for communicating knowledge and traditions, providing opportunities for minority groups to use their own languages on global information networks ensures their participation in knowledge societies.

Over the years UNESCO in cooperation with other international institutions contributes to the efforts taken to allow as many languages as possible to be represented and used in the rapidly changing world of information technology and cyberspace.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) identified the cultural and linguistic diversity in cyberspace as a priority.

A significant contribution to the celebration of the United Nations International Year of Languages was the 1st International Conference “Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace” (July 2008, Yakutsk, Russian Federation), organized by the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme and the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Russian Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography and the UNESCO Office in Moscow.

The Conference was a field for exchange of innovative international experience and brought together over 100 participants coming from 15 countries and representing NGO’s, government bodies, educational institutions, libraries, universities and private companies.

Thanks to a rich and diverse background of participants, a wide range of themes was discussed and a truly vibrant dialogue took place during the interactive sessions. Presentations and discussions during the three plenary sessions addressed political, cultural, social, ethical and technological aspects of activities aimed to support and develop linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace. Special attention was paid to the role of UNESCO in safeguarding the diversity of languages in cyberspace.

The Conference resulted in the adoption of Lena resolution, setting the foundations for future initiatives and suggesting concrete steps towards linguistic diversity in cyberspace. The Resolution places special emphasis on the role of the preservation of languages and their representation in cyberspace for the implementation of the WSIS Recommendations (Geneva, 2003 and Tunis, 2005) and for universal access to information.


The materials of the 1st International Conference “Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in Cyberspace” have been published in Russian and in English and are available at the Russian IFAP Committee’s website.



About the organizers


The Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme was established in 2000 in compliance with recommendations of the Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme to link it with Russia. Committee members represent government agencies, educational, research, cultural and communication establishments, public organizations and private sector. Russian IFAP Committee participates in the formation of national and international policies in building the information society and knowledge societies, contributes to the work of UNESCO and IFAP constitutional organs, promotes UNESCO information and communication policy in Russia and other CIS countries, ensures information exchanges with national and international agencies in other countries provides access to Russian-language information about global trends in building the information society and UNESCO activities.

The Interregional Library Cooperation Centre (ILCC) is the working body of the Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme. Its basic activities include participation in the implementation of the UNESCO Information for All Programme, in the formation and implementation of the state library policy and national policy in the support and promotion of reading, including the National Programme for Reading Promotion and Development. ILCC prepares, publishes and circulates materials on the development of librarianship and culture as well as information policies.

The North-Eastern Federal University, previously known as Yakutsk State University, is a school for higher learning in Yakutsk, Siberia. It was established in 1956 and is the largest institution of higher learning in the north east of Russia.

Maaya – the World Network for Linguistic Diversity – is a multilateral network created to contribute to the enhancement and promotion of linguistic diversity in the world. The Network was founded in the context of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), where linguistic and cultural diversity in cyberspace was one of the priorities identified. At present the Network serves as the moderator of the sub-theme on Linguistic Diversity of the action line C8 of the WSIS Plan of Action and has initiated the Dynamic Coalition for Linguistic Diversity of the Internet Governance Forum.


The Latin Union is an international organization of nations that use Romance languages, with the aim of protecting, projecting, and promoting the common cultural heritage and unifying identities of the Latin, and Latin-influenced, world. It was created in 1954 in Madrid, Spain, and has existed as a functional institution since 1983. Its membership has risen from 12 to 36 states, including countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region.






Conference Materials: