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GLOBAL ISSUES IN LANGUAGE
EDUCATION NEWSLETTER
September 1996 - Issue No. #24 (p. 9 - 10)

Linguapax Kiev Declaration of 1987:

Consultation on content and methods that could contribute in the teaching of foreign languages and literature to international understanding and peace

For those interested in promoting better international understanding among the world's people through foreign language teaching, a key international document is the 1987 Kiev LINGUAPAX Declaration proposed by UNESCO (the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization). LINGUAPAX is a series of UNESCO-sponsored conferences dealing with foreign language teaching, peace education and international understanding. The first session (LINGUAPAX I) was held in 1987 in the former USSR and resulted in the Kiev Declaration given here. Further sessions have taken place in 1988 in Sitges, Spain (LINGUAPAX II), in 1990 in Saarbrucken, Germany (LINGUAPAX III), in Barcelona, Spain (LINGUAPAX IV) and in Melbourne, Australia (LINGUAPAX V).

The Kiev Linguapax Declaration was first printed in the May 1993 issue of JALT's monthly magazine "The Language Teacher". Shortly before this, the international English teaching organization TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), with which JALT is affiliated, became an official United Nations Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in March 1990. It is hoped that the reprinting of the Linguapax Kiev Declaration here will stimulate further discussion of how language teachers in Japan and other countries around the globe can contribute to realizing the ideals of the UN and UNESCO for world peace.

Introduction

The LINGUAPAX Kiev Declaration was formulated during an international meeting held in Kiev in the former USSR attended by UNESCO officials and 16 experts in language and literature from 15 European countries. Cooperating language education organizations included the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA), the International Association for Development of Cross Cultural Communication (AIMAV), the International Association of Translators (FIT) and the World Federation of Modern Language Associations (FIPLV), an international umbrella organization comprising world teachers' associations for major languages such as French, German, Spanish and Russian. English language teachers are represented in FIPLV by the two organizations Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL).

Background

The LINGUAPAX Kiev Declaration is based on a number of key international documents, the most important being the "Recommendation Concerning Education For International Understanding, Cooperation & Peace, And Education Relating To Human Rights & Fundamental Freedoms" (UNESCO 1974). This stresses the following principles of education:

  1. an international dimension and global perspective at all levels of education

  2. understanding and respect for all peoples, their cultures,, values and ways of life

  3. awareness of the increasing global interdependence between peoples and nations

  4. abilities to communicate with others

  5. awareness of the rights and duties of individuals, social groups and nations towards each other

  6. understanding of the necessity for international solidarity and co-operation

  7. readiness on the part of the individual to participate in solving the problems of the community, country and the world at large

Recommmendations

LINGUAPAX stresses the importance of teaching culture in foreign language education, particularly:
  1. the need for multinational and multicultural content using authentic documents

  2. the development of appropriate methodologies for teaching foreign languages and literature in the spirit of peace education

  3. better training for foreign language teachers as regards the teaching of culture

  4. the development and diffusion of materials and procedures for peace education and international understanding

  5. the need to improve intercultural research on cultural contact and exchanges

To Foreign Language Teachers
  1. to be aware of their responsibility to further international understanding through their teaching

  2. to make strenuous efforts to increase the effectiveness of teaching foreign languages and literature so as to enhance mutual understanding, respect and peaceful co-existence among nations

  3. to exploit extra-curricular activities for the development of international contacts and co-operation, such as correspondence, exchange of books and materials, visits, tours, excursions, etc.

  4. as education for international co-operation must start with co-operation between students and teacher in the language learning task, classroom cooperation should be stimulated by language teaching approaches responsive to students' initiatives, interests and needs

To Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)
  1. To regularly organize, in co-operation with UNESCO, meetings of experts to prepare training seminars and workshops for teachers of foreign languages and literature in the spirit of peace and understanding among nations

To UNESCO Member Countries
  1. to encourage the exchange of teachers and culturally-authentic materials (syllabi, AV materials, films, videos) from countries whose language is being taught so as to form a positive image of the nation studied

  2. (a) to increase the number of foreign languages in the school curricula, to provide opportunities for foreign language study on an extra-curricular basis, and to give more emphasis to foreign language study in educating young people
    (b) to support the teaching of translating and interpreting as factors in the process of mutual understanding
    (c) to take steps to inform students and their families of the potential of foreign languages for acquiring better knowledge of world issues and concerns, and of other nations and cultures
    (d) to facilitate the teaching of foreign literature and to promote cultural encounters linked to this teaching

  3. to promote the teaching of languages for special purposes (LSP) so as to facilitate the exchange of information on science and technology for mutual understanding

To the Director-General of UNESCO
  1. to initiate projects to develop locally-applicable teaching methods and materials for promoting peace and mutual understanding. This project will be launched initially in Europe and then extended in future to other world regions (Africa, Asia, etc.)

  2. (a) to create a handbook for language teachers containing guidelines, teaching units and suggested methods for promoting peace and international understanding
    (b) to organize international competitions for the best teaching materials, the best collection of literary texts (poetry anthologies, short stories, etc.) and the best material produced by students which reflect the ideals of peace and international co-operation
    (c) to organize exhibits of these materials

  3. contrary to the common practice of linking the teaching of a foreign language with a leading country and its capital, it is recommended to consider also countries where this language is spoken and used as a second language

  4. to organize regional and international meetings of experts to design teacher training programs involving peace education, education for international understanding and other disciplines aimed at improving school foreign language curricula

  5. to organize workshops for foreign language teachers and students on contemporary world issues of direct relevance and interest to young people such as environmental protection, the struggle against poverty and hunger, etc.

  6. to contribute to a more extensive study of less widely taught languages and cultures, especially the languages of neighbouring countries

  7. to ensure the proclamation within the "Decade of Cultural Development" (1988-1997) of an International Year of Languages and to support teaching projects which enhance understanding and appreciation of each other's cultures


Interested in learning more about Linguapax? * contact JALT's Global Issues SIG
* attend daily Linguapax presentations at JALT conferences
* consider joining the Linguapax-Asia Ad-Hoc Network

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Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
E-mail: kcates@gilesig.org Work Tel/Fax: 0857-31-5650
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