Australia

What is Language For? “Other” vs. “Heritage” Language Education in Australia

May 30, 2013 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Australia is an ethno-linguistically diverse country with more than 15% of people speaking languages other than English, or a heritage language, at home. While learning English can contribute to immigrant students’ socioeconomic and educational success, heritage language maintenance facilitates maintaining ties with family and community members unable to speak English, avoiding a potential generation gap in immigrant families. Heritage language maintenance refers to a situation where immigrants continue using their languages in a host society. Additionally, maintaining a heritage language and ethnic identity are interconnected; individuals who lost their heritage languages reported feeling as though a part of their identities were missing. Finally, heritage language maintenance promotes multilingualism in society, which facilitates economic, cultural and political communications among countries. […]

Pacific Islands

Island Connect in the Tuamotus: Satellite, Solar Power and Civil Society

April 2, 2013 Asia Pacific Memo 1

Despite their isolation, technological developments allow residents of Katiu, a tiny coral atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia, to engage as global citizens. The atoll is only 10 square km, 27 km long and 12.5 km wide. Its 286 residents subsist on fishing, copra harvesting and pearl farming. There is no tourism trade, and anything beyond coconut palms, breadfruit, taro, fish, seafood and some fruit must be imported on infrequent cargo ships. Until recently, the atoll was inaccessible except by boat, and islanders had limited communications with the outside world. […]

Pacific Islands

Digital Generation in Papua New Guinea Emerges

November 29, 2012 Asia Pacific Memo 0

Memo #194 – Next month, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr will make his maiden visit to Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia’s nearest neighbour and second largest recipient of Australian foreign aid. This visit comes 10 months after the then brand-new foreign minister threatened PNG with sanctions following suggestions from within the PNG government that national elections might be delayed. Not surprisingly, these threats did not go down well with Papua New Guineans. But ironically, Foreign Minister Carr can take partial responsibility for inspiring a new, digital generation of Papua New Guineans to engage in public discussion. […]