Focus Lecture FLC2018: Azirah Hashim

Applied Linguistics and the Sustainable Development Goals

Azirah Hashim

University of Malaya



Sustainable development for countries and polities is increasingly viewed from not only an economic perspective, but also from social and environmental lenses. Language and communication are crucial enabling factors needed for societies to grow, collaborate and become more inclusive. In September 2015, the United Nations adopted the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) several of which imply direct attention to issues of language. For example, for Goal 4 on quality education, language of instruction is crucially important, along with other linguistic concerns. In addition, Goal 8 on productive employment and decent work is dependent on the ability of all to communicate linguistically in the workplace. What does the field of applied linguistics have to contribute to the realization of the SDGs? This presentation will provide an exploration of the role of applied linguistics in striving to achieve these new, ambitious and universal goals focusing, in particular, on the provision of inclusive education opportunities and economic growth coupled with equity. With focal attention on Malaysia and the region, this presentation will discuss and examine language education policy and language in the workplace for quality, equity and inequality and the development of relevant future-ready skills or sustainable economic growth.



Professor Azirah Hashim is Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Institute (AEI) and Director of the Centre for ASEAN Regionalism, University of Malaya and, previously Dean of the Humanities Research Cluster and Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics. In 2009, she was awarded the Georg Forster Research Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and is a Fellow of the foundation. She sits on the executive committee of the Asia Pacific Languages for Specific Purposes and Professional Communication Association and is a former executive committee member of the International Association of Forensic Linguists. She is also President of the Malaysian Association of Applied Linguistics and was elected Vice President of the International Association of Applied Linguistics at AILA 2017. She has been involved in regional initiatives such as narrowing the development gap through education in Cambodia and Laos, ASEAN mobility initiatives in higher education and researches on language contact and language education in ASEAN. Current projects that she leads are Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education and Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on ASEAN and the EU.



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