Asia and the Pacific | United States of America | Washington, DC | Alliance for Peacebuilding
February 21, 2019, marks the 20th anniversary of International Mother Language Day. It will also launch the ﬁrst in a series of language-themed events taking place in Washington, D.C., during this International Year of Indigenous Languages. We invite you to join us for a discussion on the importance of education in one’s mother tongue in support of peacebuilding and reconciliation.
Dr. Kirk Person of SIL International will present his report titled Bridge to a Brighter Tomorrow: The Patani Malay-Thai Multilingual Education Programme, authored for UNICEF Thailand. The 14-year insurgency in southern Thailand has claimed the lives of over 7,000 Thai-speaking Buddhists and Patani Malay-speaking Muslims, including some 180 government teachers. Issues related to ethnic identity and language simultaneously feed the unrest and oﬀer potential footholds for reconciliation through community engagement in the reform of the local education system.
The report examines various facets of this ten-year longitudinal study, including teacher training, curriculum development, and bridging over to the national language. The results have been extraordinary, with Patani Malay-speaking children surpassing native Thai-speaking children in a number of ways, and the program itself garnering international recognition and several awards. The program also highlights the challenges and successes of working in a conﬂict area and the importance of building bridges between communities to create lasting peace.