Call for Papers

The Study Group on Language at the United Nations
invites you to contribute to a Symposium on

Multilingualism in International Organizations and International Co-operation

on Thursday & Friday, May 10-11, 2018
at the Church Center, 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017
First Avenue at 44th Street

Multilingualism in international co-operation entails both costs and benefits: costs because it requires mechanisms such as the selection of multilingual staff and the mediation of language professionals; benefits because, if properly managed, it includes all parties to decision-making, promotes consensus, supports programme delivery, and aids dissemination of results. Thus it favours social justice and inclusion. Increasingly, multilingualism is seen as a positive force, though it is not always recognized as such by all stakeholders.

Within the United Nations, for example, owing in particular to the scarcity of available data, advocates of multilingual language policies often face ideological, financial and administrative resistance, despite a growing recognition that multilingualism, as a core value of the UN, is a potential source of strength.

This symposium seeks to focus on, and generate interest in, these issues. We invite contributions addressing the challenges of supporting multilingualism in organizations or in sites of international co-operation across different sectors (e.g. business, diplomacy, economics) or communities. Theoretical and methodological studies are welcome, as well as those addressing specific practical challenges – especially papers that focus directly on the work of the UN system or other international bodies, or research having obvious implications for their work.

Suggested themes:

The organizers welcome proposals for brief 20-minute papers on topics linked to the symposium themes.


Please send proposals (200 words or less) to Dr Lisa McEntee-Atalianis (, by February 16th, 2018.  The committee expects to make final decisions on the program by March 5th, 2018.


Back to top