II. International level:
Given its international vocation and the relevance of its objectives, the Academy has been requested to take part in various activities among which one can note:
1. 13-31 October 2001: The President of the African Academy of Languages participated in the 31st UNESCO General Conference which adopted a Resolution in favour of the African Academy of Languages.
2. 8-9 November 2001: The President of the African Academy of Languages presented a paper at the International Seminar organised by UNESCO in Paris on "Prospective Approaches and New Strategies". This paper titled "Cultural Pluralism and Development in Africa: the stakes" permitted to point out the role that languages can play in the reinforcement of cultural pluralism.
3. 5-7 February 2002: Government Experts' Meeting organised by the OAU in Addis Ababa. This meeting approved the draft Statutes of the African Academy of Languages and made recommendations.
4. 4-7 March 2002: Regional Seminar in Sikasso on the concept of border lands gathering the administrative authorities of fifteen African countries. It permitted to convince the delegates that no integration of neighbouring countries is possible without taking into consideration language issues. The African Academy of Languages was represented by the Director of the Documentation Centre.
5. March 11, 2002: Round Table organised by the Francophony International Organisation (OIF) in Addis Ababa. The President of the Academy presented a paper on: "Language issues in Africa: State of the art and prospects".
6. 11-15 March 2002: The ECOWAS Education Experts met in Abuja, Nigeria. The meeting decided to include the introduction of national languages in educational systems.
7. 5-14 April 2002: The President of the Academy had a work session in Pretoria, South Africa to prepare the meeting of the Ministers in charge of language promotion.
8. 16-20 April 2002: The President and the Director of the Documentation Centre participated in Barcelona, Spain, in the World Convention on language policies. Their presentations, during the Convention helped to clarify the missions and the objectives of the African Academy of Languages on one hand, and to reinforce the relationships with Linguapax and other structures in charge of languages on the other.
9. 28-30 May 2002: Regional Preparatory Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society in Bamako. The Presidency of the Academy not only presented the structure, but also a paper on what Africa must preserve within the Information Society. The President also participated in a workshop on African languages and the Internet
10. May 29-June 3, 2002: The Secretary General took participated, in Brussels, in the 76th Session of the International Academic Union. His presentation of the Academy permitted to envisage a future partnership between the International Academic Union and the African Academy of Languages.
11.. 26-29 August 2002: The Secretary General participated in a workshop organised by the Franco-German Office for Youth (OFAJ), in Mary-Le-Roy in France.
12. 10-15 September 2002: The President participated in the UNESCO Experts' Meeting on: "Education in Multilingual Contexts"
13. 20-25 September 2002: The President participated in the ECOWAS Ministers of Education's Meeting in Dakar. The Meeting made a recommendation in favour of the African Academy of Languages and the World Summit on the Information Society.
14. 20-22 November 2002: The President and the Secretary General participated in the 50th Session of the CONFEMEN in Burkina Faso. The resolutions made at this Session emphasized, among others, the taking into account of national languages to improve the quality of education.
15. 20-22 November 2002: The President took part in MINEDAF VIII in Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, in the meeting of Ministers of Education organised by UNESCO. The President's paper was on the importance of national languages as mediums of instruction in educational systems.This conference took a resolution in favour of the African Academy of Languages stressing, among other, that “the Academy of Languages must be strongly supported so that the political will can integrate languages related matters ”.
16. 16-18 December 2002: The Secretary General participated in Kenya in consultative preparatory Meeting of the Panafrican Cultural Convention, scheduled in 2003.
17. 20-22 November 2002: The President and the Secretary General of the ACALAN took part in the 50th Session of the Conference of the Ministers for Education sharing French (CONFEMEN), taking place in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.
A call on the importance of the introduction of the national languages into Teaching, essential condition to reach Education for All, was launched by the President of the African Academy of Languages.
In margin of the Conference, the Secretary General had the role of contacting other international structures installed in Ouagadougou with the view of studying their modalities of functionning as institutions with Panafrican dimension. It was namely question of FESPACO and the CAMES.
18. 16-18 December 2002: The Secretary General took part in Naïrobi in Kenya, in the preparatory workshop of the experts, of the Panafrican Cultural Congress. During this workshop, on proposal of the African Academy of the Languages the following topics: - African languages and development and - African languages and partner languages were considered to be developed during the congress.
19. March 10, 2003: UNESCO having requested the Academy, the Director of the Documentation Centre made an important presentation at a workshop on “ threatened languages ” held in Paris.
20. April 2, 2003: The President and the Secretary General took part in the meeting held on the Three Linguistic Spaces organized in Mexico City in Mexico. During this meeting, the President animated a workshop on cultural and linguistic diversity.
President Abdou DIOUF, Secretary General of O.I.F insisted during the opening ceremony on the importance of the role of the African Academy of Languages in the promotion of cultural and linguistic diversity.
21. April 16, 2003: The President was solicited to take part in the French-speaking International Council of Languages (CIFLA). It was a question of discussing as envisaged in the cultural and linguistic diversity action plan of Cotonou, resulting from the ministerial Conference on the Culture and adopted at the Summit of Beirut in 2002 by O.I.F. It was requested from the Academy to carry a critical assessment of the actions of the Agency, to target the orientations to be privileged out of linguistic matter and to propose inflections to be brought to the action of the Agency.
22. May 8, 2003: The Secretary General was invited to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to share the experiment of Mali as regards introduction of the national languages into teaching in a meeting called: "national meeting on the bilingual schools".
23. 12-15 May 2003: The Secretary General took part in Ouagadougou in the workshop of ADEA on the alternative approaches for the quality of Education.
The experts present at this workshop insisted on the introduction of the national languages into teaching to improve its quality.
24. 17-22 June 2003: The Director of the Documentation Centre was invited to the 4th World Congress of the African Linguistics (WOCAL 4) which took place in the USA. This Congress not only considered the Academy as a member of the Watching Committee before the Congress but also wished that, from that time on, all works on the languages carries the moral guarantee of the Academy. The Congress scheduled the 5th meeting in 2006 in Addis-Ababa at the African Union Commission headquarter which is the mother structure of ACALAN.
25. 07-14 September 2003: The session of two Parliamentary Commitees of CEDEAO on the topic of the valorization of the national languages was organized in Bamako. The African Academy of Languages, host of the session, solicited by the Parliament of CEDEAO, the services of the French National Assembly and Primature organized together this session which made relevant recommendations relating to the promotion of the African languages. The Members of Parliament gave their support for the fast adoption of the texts of the African Academy of Languages.
It is on this occasion that the Web site was officially launched.
26. September 29, to October 18, 2003: The President, the Secretary General and the Director of the Documentation Center attended the working sessions of the various commissions of the 32nd Session of the General Conference of UNESCO.
In margin of the Conference, the Austrian officials wished to cooperate with the Academy. Previously, in their intervention in plenary sessions, they had congratulated the idea on the Academy and pledged their support for this project.
27. 19-21 November 2003: “The management of languages in West Africa” such was the topic of the Workshop organized by A.I.F in Bamako, workshop for which the inaugural conference was made by the Academy by the Director of the documentation Centre.
28. 19-21 November 2003: The Workshop on the immaterial heritage organized in Niamey by the UNESCO cluster office of Bamako, recorded the participation of the Secretary General of the ACALAN.
29. December 10, 2003: In margin of the 1st phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, on initiative of the President of the Academy, ACALAN Co-organized with UNESCO and ILI, a round table on “language, litteracy and NTIC”. It was chaired by the President of the Academy with, as one of the panelists, the Director of the Documentation Centre.
30. 16-19 December 2003: Participation of the Secretary General in Niamey in Niger in the workshop on “Multilingualism and linguistic policies” organized by the UNESCO Institute for Education (IUE). The participants asked that the African Academy of Languages coordinate all the activities within the context of the promotion of the national languages.
We should point out that the Academy attended, from 2004 to nowadays, all the other meetings or activities for which it was requested for the promotion and of the valorization of the African languages.
All these meetings and activities permitted to share the objectives and the missions of the Academy. Moreover, the position of President of the Academy as President of the Preparatory Committee of the World Summit on the Information Society facilitated the sensitizing in favour of the Academy.
The creation, in February 2004, of a Steering committee for the Implementation of the Language Plan of Action for Africa (ILPAA) in Yaoundé in Cameroon, Co-chaired by Mr. Adama SAMASSEKOU, President of ACALAN and Prof Neville ALEXANDER from the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and composed of eminent linguists and academics from the various regions of Africa among which Ayo BAMGBOSE from Nigeria, Arame FAL from Senegal, Maurice TADADJEU and Sammy CHUMBOW from Cameroon, Hermas MWANSOKO from Tanzania and Carole BLOCH from South Africa, Becky NDJOZE-OJO from Namibia and Salam DIAKITE, now replaced by Souleymane SANGARE, from Mali), made it possible to renew, at the continental level, the enthusiasm aroused just after the Lusaka Decision.
Indeed, the Steering committee for the Implementation of the Language Plan of Action for Africa (ILPAA) made relevant recommendations in order to operationalize the Academy:
to accelerate the establishment of the African Academy of Languages;
to put in the budget of the African Union Commission a line for the African Academy of Languages;
to invite the African Union to declare the Year 2006, the Year of the African Languages;
to submit the project of implementation of the Language Plan of Action for Africa (ILPAA) to a meeting of the financial and technical partners.
Following the Yaoundé Workshop (see the report), the President of the African Union Commission gathered, in March 2004, a working group on the African Academy. It is particularly during this meeting that the idea to make of the year 2006, the Year of African Languages (YOAL) was retained.
The second meeting of the Steering committee, held in December 2004 permitted to refine the ACALAN/ILPAA projects.
A decisive step was the audience granted by the President of the African Union Commission to the President of ACALAN, in July 2005. This audience which was a real working session, permitted to pave the way towards Khartoum.
Had not been the transition from OAU to AU, the priorities of which were the establishment of its central bodies, the Academy would have been effective since the Summit of 2003.
However, from the analysis of the activities carried out and its solicitations, it can be said that the Interim Presidency of the African Academy of Languages is functional de facto, but the Academy not still being fully operational.
Indeed, from the world Congress of the linguists organized by Linguapax in Barcelona in 2002, to the Strategic Plan of the African Union Commission in July 2004, going through the Workshop of Three Linguistic Spaces organized by “Francophonie” (the International Organization of the French Speaking World) in Mexico City, the World Congress of African Linguistics (WOCAL) in the United States, the sessions of the International Academic Union in Brussels, the Conferences of UNESCO, the Council of Europe, “CONFEMEN” (the Conference of Ministers of Education) and CEDEAO on Education and multilingualism and more recently the Conference of ADEA, GTZ and UIE on bilingual Education and the use of local languages, a prime place was granted to the Academy either to chair certain activities, or to be part of a steering committee.
The President of the Academy was in addition elected, in July 2002, President of the Preparatory Committee (PrepComp) of the Geneva phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which gave a greater visibility to the African Academy of Languages throughout the world.
Within the context of the WSIS Academia Research Network, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) entrusted to the Presidency of ACALAN the coordination of a Thematic Network called: “African Languages and content development in the Cyberspace”. The members of this Network held their first meeting in Bamako in September 2004 and worked out a short, mid and long terms work program.
The results of all these consultations and activities made it possible, among others, to prepare better the Accra African Regional Conference of February 2005 for the second phase of the WSIS, in November 2005 in Tunis.
In addition, the Academy co-organized with UNESCO and “AIF”, on the 6 and 7 of May 2005 in Bamako, in the context of the WSIS, the thematic Conference on “the multilingualism for cultural diversity and the participation of all in the Cyberspace”.
In Tunis, during the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, in November 2005, a Round Table was organized by ACALAN, under the auspices of the African Union and in partnership with UNESCO, AIF and other institutions. This Round Table made it possible, among other, to create a World Network for the Linguistic Diversity, which official launching took place at UNESCO headquarters on 21 February 2006, International Mother Language Day (IMLD), in the presence of the Director General of UNESCO.
The participation of ACALAN in the activities of the International Academic Union resulted in the admission of ACALAN as an associate member of the UAI during the 80th session of the General Assembly of this Institution, held from the 31st of May to the 4th of June 2006 in Brussels.
Finally, from the 26th to the 28th of June 2006 in Bamako, ACALAN and Japan Language Observatory (LOJ) organized a training workshop of the African experts in African languages web survey.
Various activities presented in the ACALAN programme of activities to be validated by the interim Governing Board, are planned for 2006-2007, among others:
- the organization of regional symposia on “National Policies: the role of the cross-border languages and the place of lesser used languages”, permitting, among other, the establishment of the ACALAN working structures (namely the Commissions of vehicular cross-border Languages); the West African Symposium (see the report) took place in Bamako, from the 16th to the 18th of May, the remaining four regional symposia will take place this year 2007.
- the Co-organization of various major events in the Year of the African Languages (YOAL);
- the launching of the ACALAN core projects (The Pan African Masters and Ph.D programmes in Applied Linguistics with special emphasis on computing linguistics, (PANMAPAL), Yaoundé, Cameroon; The Pan-African Interpretation and Translation Centre, ACALAN headquarter, Bamako, Mali; “Stories Across Africa” (StAAf) based in Cape Town, South Africa; The Terminology Project, based in Dar Es Salam, Tanzania, African Linguistic Atlas Project, Lilongwe, Malawi; Lexicography project, Gaborone, Botswana and The Project “African Languages and Cyberspace”, Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia); the organization of an International Seminar on the partnership between African Languages and the European working languages of AU (English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish).
All these activities will be presented in a ten-yearly Strategic Plan along with an 2007 action plan.
Koulouba, December 31, 2006
The Presidency/Interim Executive Secretary of the Academy
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