2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages Call for Papers

Due Date: 03-15-2019

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL2019), setting its priority to encourage urgent action to preserve, revitalize and promote indigenous languages. This action plan starts from the recognition that indigenous languages embody rich cultural identities and that each person should have the ability to use their home language as a prerequisite for respect of human rights. It consequently requires considerable reworking of the sustainable development agenda and national plans in order to encourage further international attention on indigenous issues. This objective could not be achieved without the production of high quality research and the formulation of concrete directions by prominent academics, researchers and practitioners specialized in different fields. These are key to inform new strategies that will address indigenous issues both within the Sustainable Development Agenda and national plans.

UNESCO is calling for the joint action of researchers and practitioners to get its message across and have an impact on the way in which indigenous languages are conceived, and their value appreciated by multiple stakeholders—governments, broader civil society, academia, the private sector and other actors. Making available these publications to the wider public through open access under the Creative Commons or any other open licensing system is intended to facilitate the promotion of indigenous languages globally.

Preserving, revitalizing, and promoting indigenous languages at the national, regional, and international level is a broad and long-term objective that involves different key areas of intervention:

  1. Humanitarian affairs, peace-building and national development plans (e.g., during and post-conflict period, radicalization and other; assimilation, mapping and revitalization policies related to languages);
  2. Indigenous education and life-long learning;
  3. Indigenous knowledge in science and health (including interventions for epidemic or pandemic diseases; activism for climate change; water, bioethics, and other);
  4. Gender equality (e.g., reproductive health education policies, role of indigenous women in intergenerational transmission);
  5. Social inclusion and urbanization, ethics and civic engagement (e.g., recognition of sign languages, youth engagement, open solutions, and other issues);
  6. Cultural heritage and diplomacy (concept of equality of languages, cultural identity imbued in languages);
  7. Technology, digital activism, and artificial intelligence (e.g., language technology).

The goal for researchers and practitioners participating to IYIL2019 through their submissions is to cover at least one of these key areas, identifying gaps in existing research, gathering qualitative and statistical data, and putting together a set of conclusions and recommendations in order to raise awareness on the importance and impact of indigenous languages.

Researchers working in different fields and experts in subject areas who are interested in indigenous issues and languages can apply. UNESCO particularly encourages indigenous researchers to submit and to work in collaboration with policy makers, civil society representatives, information and media professionals, and other stakeholders to make the IYIL2019 a success by enhancing indigenous voices.

UNESCO welcomes submissions based on desk-type research, literature reviews, interviews of experts and opinion leaders, key messages outcomes, evidence-based case studies and existing solutions, statistical analyses (if data are available), etc. Online submissions (10 pages, 340 words per page including references) together with a short biography of each author and 3–5 keywords should be made by 15 March 2019 using the online form on the UNESCO Web site ( or sent by e-mail (

The authors of selected papers will be invited to present at relevant international events and to submit full versions of their papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, selected research contributions will be selected in June 2019 for publication in the World Report of Languages 2019.