“Development must be regarded as synonymous with enhancing human rights and welfare, so that self-esteem, self-respect and improving entitlements become central concerns.”
—Desai & Potter (2008)

2019 Language & Development Conference


Call for Expressions of Interest

Download the EOI

Language and Development Conference Trustees are seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from organizations interested in organizing and hosting the 13 th Conference on Language and Development, due to be held in 2019 (in the period September – November).

The trustees would particularly welcome collaborative / joint bids from organizations that together demonstrate an understanding and experience of language and development issues and related fields.The trustees strongly encourage the host organization(s) to involve a range of international and local development agencies as partners. For the 2019 conference, the trustees will be particularly interested to receive proposals from the Asian region.

Possible themes that have emerged from recent conferences include:

  • Language, development, forcible displacement and economic migration
  • Governments and the language they use
  • Language and equity

The trustees, however, welcome other suggestions for a conference theme.

The most recent conference was held in Dakar, Senegal, in November 2017 (the third time the event was held in Africa), hosted by the British Council and supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research & Innovation, the Ministry of National Education, CODESRIA, International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), SIL International, SOAS University London, and UNESCO. The conference brought together researchers, policymakers and practitioners from a wide range of contexts, with over 250 delegates attending. The conference’s theme, ‘Language and the Sustainable Development Goals’ dealt with the inextricable link between language and social, economic and judicial development.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

If your organization is interested in hosting the next conference, please contact the Conference Trustees at langdev@ialf.edu. The EOI should not exceed 6 pages, and should broadly address the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate that the conference promotes the host country and organizations, the conference series and its website - www.langdevconferences.org
  • Outline why the conference would attract host country support
  • Indicate a range of partnerships with host country government and non-government organisations as well as with international agencies
  • Suggest a broad theme (or range of possible themes) for the conference
  • Identify a time line to develop a basic business plan for the conference, describing, among
    • organizers and their roles and contributions
    • evenue plan
    • marketing plan
    • target participants
    • schedule
    • security plan, including formalities such as immigration requirements, permissions etc.
    • contingency plans
  • Guarantee that any financial obligations incurred by the conference can be sustained by the organizers
  • Demonstrate the capacity to produce a high-quality, academically-reputable, post-conference
    publication, to be made available to conference participants and distributed widely


The Language and Development conferences are held every two years and bring together professionals who are interested in the role language plays in development. The conferences address the issues of world, national, second and minority languages in relation to economic, social and cultural development, language policy and pedagogy.

Conference Trustees

The Language and Development conference series has a group of trustees drawn from those who have played a significant role in organizing the conferences in the past. Their job is to ensure the continuation of the spirit and principles of the conference series, and to facilitate the selection of future conference organizers and host countries in a transparent way. One or more trustees will be appointed to assist organizers of the conference in whatever way is appropriate.

Language and Development Conference Series to date

2017 Dakar, Senegal Language and the Sustainable Development Goals’
2015 New Delhi, India Multilingualism and Development
2013 Cape Town, South Africa Opportunity, Equity and Identity beyond 2015
2011 Colombo, Sri Lanka Language and Social Cohesion
2009 Dhaka, Bangladesh Language and Development: Socio Cultural Issues and Challenges
2005 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Language & Development
2003 Tashkent, Uzbekistan Linguistic Challenges to National Development and International Cooperation
2001 Phnom Penh, Cambodia Defining the Role of Language in Development
1999 Hanoi, Vietnam Partnership and Interaction in Language and Development
1997 Langkawi, Malaysia Access, Empowerment, Opportunity
1995 Bali, Indonesia Language and Communication in Development: Stakeholders’ Perspectives
1993 Bangkok, Thailand Language Programmes in Development Projects

Guiding Principles

  • Whenever and wherever possible, the conference should be held in a developing country.
  • Conference themes and focus areas should encompass a broad understanding of Language and Development issues, both internationally and in the host country.
  • The conference should provide a forum for discussing change and contribute to the professional development of people involved.
  • The conference program should be designed so that it is participatory and builds toward a collective outcome.
  • Participation should be balanced among national and international delegates.
  • Strategies, including a flexible fee structure and a plan for attracting funding, should allow for maximum participation by delegates who would not otherwise be able to participate.
  • Previous conference organizers should be involved in the planning of subsequent conferences.
  • It is the prerogative of the lead organizer to invite other co-organizers to be involved as they deem appropriate.
  • Conference organizers will be given access to administrative documents and files from previous conference hosts, including budget details, mailing lists


Download the Expressions of Interest