The International Seminar on Kalinga Conversation – 1 brought together scholars, educators, and advocates from various parts of the world to deliberate on the theme “Multilingual Education – A Pillar of Learning and Inter-Generational Learning.” Held in commemoration of UNESCO International Mother Language Day, the seminar served as a platform for discussing the significance of multilingual education in fostering inclusive learning environments. It was organized by Mother Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education (MTBMLE) Programme in collaboration with the Centre for Indigenous Language and Narratives and the School of Comparative Tribal Languages and Literatures and the Human Resource Development Centre on 21st February 2024.

The event commenced with an uplifting Welcome Song performed by the talented students of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Deemed to be University (KISS DU), delivered in the Santali Language, paying homage to the diversity of languages and cultures. Following the warm welcome, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, the Vice Chancellor of KISS-DU, extended his greetings and set the stage for the enriching discourse that was to follow.

Shri Kanda Charan Naik, Professor of Practice specializing in the Ho Language (Warang Chiti) at KISS-DU, shared insights drawn from his extensive experience in indigenous language education. His talk shed light on the challenges and opportunities inherent in promoting multilingualism, particularly in contexts where indigenous languages face the threat of extinction.

Professor Amareswar Galla, Pro Chancellor, KISS-DU and UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development, and Emeritus Faculty at the Australian National University, Canberra, graced the event with his profound address. Professor Galla emphasized the importance of preserving linguistic diversity as a fundamental aspect of cultural heritage, advocating for inclusive educational practices that honour students’ mother tongues.

The highlight of the seminar was the address delivered by Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann, Former Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Language at the University of Adelaide, Australia. Professor Zuckermann’s expertise in linguistics and endangered languages provided invaluable insights into the role of multilingual education in revitalizing endangered languages and fostering linguistic resilience.

Following the keynote addresses, participants engaged in a vibrant discussion, sharing experiences, and best practices in multilingual education. The exchange of ideas and perspectives enriched the discourse, highlighting the diverse approaches to promoting linguistic diversity in educational settings.

Dr. Prashanta Kumar Routray, Registrar of KISS-DU, delivered the concluding remarks, summarizing the key takeaways from the seminar and emphasizing the importance of continued collaboration and advocacy for multilingual education.

The event concluded with a Vote of Thanks extended by Dr. Rasmita Tripathy, Associate Professor and Dean of the School of Comparative Tribal Languages and Literatures at KISS-DU, expressing gratitude to all participants for their valuable contributions.

Dr. Sushree Sangita Mohanty, In-charge of MTBMLE and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at KISS-DU, played a pivotal role in convening and organizing the seminar, ensuring its success as a platform for meaningful dialogue and knowledge exchange.

In essence, the International Seminar on Kalinga Conversation – 1 served as a testament to the importance of multilingual education in promoting inclusive learning environments and preserving linguistic diversity for future generations. Through collaborative efforts and shared commitment, stakeholders can work towards building a more equitable and culturally rich educational landscape.

This report encapsulates the essence of the seminar, reflecting the collective aspirations of participants towards a more inclusive and linguistically diverse world.