It is with great pleasure that I have accepted the invitation to be a keynote speaker at the 2015 Confluence Conference in Nagpur. Amazingly this will be my first visit to India – I say amazingly as I have spent the last 20 years teaching in Asia proper and the nearby MENA region, yet have still not set foot in India: something I’m looking forward to rectifying in 2015.
Although I have not been to India, let alone Nagpur, before, I am still well aware of the increasing size and reputation of the Confluence Conference. Friends and colleagues have attended, presented and also delivered keynote/ plenary addresses and every one of them has spoken highly of the hospitality, the intensity and involvement of the delegates and of a warm-hearted yet professional atmosphere.
It is also surprising after nearly 25 years in education (predominantly English language teaching) that I have yet to visit a country that represents perhaps the biggest group of genuine English as a second/ foreign/ other language users in the world. India is a vast and diverse country with a plethora of indigenous languages – proudly spoken and respected – where English can, and does, serve as a major tool for mutual communication across the country and also internationally.
It is such concerns that make professional development opportunities – the chance to reflect on the hows and also whys of what we do – such as this increasingly important conference so important. I look forward to seeing you all in Nagpur.
Dr. Peter B. McLaren
United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain
He is Currently Publications Coordinator for TESOL Arabia and a board
member of the MENA Extensive reading Foundation