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 Thursday, March 09, 2006

ITU and UNESCO will hold a Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet in Geneva from 9 - 11 May 2006.

Participation is open to any organization or individual from a country which is a member of ITU or UNESCO, and is free of charge. Written contributions are invited on the themes of the event and should be sent to multilingual@itu.int before than Tuesday 25 April 2006.

The Tunis Agenda for the Information Society, adopted at the Tunis Phase of WSIS, highlights the importance of multilingualism for bridging the digital divide. It identifies ITU as taking the lead role in the implementation of information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C2), ITU/UNESCO for access to information and knowledge (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C3), and UNESCO for cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content (WSIS Tunis Agenda Action Line C8).

The symposium will examine issues highlighted in paragraph 53 of the WSIS Tunis Agenda, including:

1    Options for advancing the process for the introduction of multilingualism in a number of areas including domain names, email addresses and keyword look-up;

2    Options for implementing programmes, also in cooperation with other appropriate organizations, that allow for the presence of multilingual domain names and content on the internet and the use of various software models in order to fight against the linguistic digital divide and ensure the participation of all in the emerging new society;

3    Options for strengthening cooperation between relevant bodies for the further development of technical standards and to foster their global deployment;

In addition the event will review technical solutions and current experiences, identify open issues and discuss a roadmap for further steps in the direction of promoting multilingualism in the internet.

The draft agenda of the Symposium, logistic details, background information and updates relating to the event including the programme, presentations as well as details and practical information will be available on the website at the following address: http://itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/multilingual/. Contributions will be electronically available from the Symposium website in the language received, for discussion at the meeting.