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Language Learning Facilitates “Virtual Exchanges” for Youth

The Alliance for Peacebuilding recently highlighted a program called Saliya, which sets up online dialogue between students from different countries and religious backgrounds. The goal is to promote dialogue and understanding across the boundaries that usually divide us through the use of online tools. Participants then use their understanding to respond differently in situations of conflict involving the other.

The unspoken assumption in the article, however, is that the students share a language through which they can communicate. Whether that means the students are learning the other’s language directly (the screen shot shows a chat in English), or making use of those with interpretive skills or translation tools, understanding can only happen when language facilitates it and only for those who have access to that language. Language education, whether for participants or interpreters, then, is at the heart of any international exchange and dialogue efforts for peace.

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About clwoelk

Cheryl Woelk is coordinator of Language for Peace and specializes in language and peace education in multicultural contexts. She holds an MA in Education and a graduate certificate in Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. Cheryl currently lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her spouse and son.

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  1. Pingback: “The World Is As Big Or Small As You Make It” | Language for Peace Forum - June 10, 2015

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Contributing Author

Cheryl Woelk is coordinator of Language for Peace and specializes in language and peace education in multicultural contexts. She holds an MA in Education and a graduate certificate in Peacebuilding from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia, USA. Cheryl currently lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with her spouse and son.

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