British Council South Africa 


We are delighted by the great response to our call for papers. The programme will include voices from a wide variety of stakeholders, countries and projects. We have introduced thematic sessions featuring several speakers, with time allocated for audience participation. We hope this programme will encourage discussion and debate, making links between major themes in language and development and the SDGs.


In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs). Two years on, this 12th Language and Development Conference provides a timely opportunity for the role of language to be explored in achieving these new, ambitious and universal goals. It is the first time this conference has been hosted in a francophone country.


We will explore three of the Sustainable Development Goals through the following sub-themes:

  • Multilingualism for Quality, Equitable and Inclusive Education
  • Language, Skills and Sustainable Economic Growth
  • Communication, Peace and Justice


The conference will seek to explore the role of language in a range of interlinking aspects of development. It will do so by focussing on three specific goals:

  • SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and  quality education for all and promote lifelong learning;
  • SDG 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all;
  • SDG 16: Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

Please refer to the Conference Concept Note

Please note that the timetable may be subject to change.

Keynote speakers will include:

Ahmeth Diouf, General Lawyer at the Supreme Court of Senegal. Ahmeth will speak on terminology impact in social development based on the transversal aspect of local languages as school teaching instruments and, by way of consequence, as tools for effective access to labour rights, health rights, healthy environment, universal knowledge, and more.

Barbara Trudell, SIL International. Barbara will speak to SDG 4, assessing the degree to which quality, equity and inclusivity in the formal education curriculum can be enhanced by giving space to local language, knowledge and perspective.

Paulin Djité, International consultant in Language and Education. Paulin will speak to SDG 8, arguing that the root causes of fragility and inability to achieve the goal of inclusive growth in sub-Saharan Africa is the marginalization of the majority of the people, due to the absence of efficient and effective language policy and planning.

Leigh Swigart, Brandeis University, USA. Leigh will speak to SDG 16 about the International Criminal Court and the importance of including ‘languages of lesser diffusion’ to aim for global justice.

Salikoko Mufwene, University of Chicago, USA. Salikoko will speak to SDG 8 about linguistic diversity, formal education, and economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mary Goretti Nakabugo, UWEZO. Mary will speak to SDG 4 about UWEZO’s ground-breaking work using household surveys to improve access to education, with 10 years’ evidence of citizen agency and policy work, and contradictions between school language policies and practices.

Other presenters will include:

  • The Senegalese Minster for Higher Education
  • HMA George Hodgson, The UK Ambassador to Senegal
  • Dawn Long, Director, British Council Senegal
  • Emile Tanawa, Director, Institut de la francophonie pour l’éducation et la formation (IFEF)
  • Moses Anibaba, British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Director
  • UNESCO Global Education Monitoring
  • Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD), Dakar
  • School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London
  • The LDC Conference Trustees
  • More TBC

See also