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Tove Skutnabb-Kangas

Curriculum vitae (extracts) - Download (pdf)
(updated in December 2008)

BORN in Helsinki, Finland, 6 July 1940
MOTHER TONGUES Finnish and Swedish

  • 1959 Graduated from Vaasan Tyttölyseo (Vaasa High School for Girls)
  • 1962 BA, University of Helsinki (Nordic languages, Education, Psychology, Literature, Philosophy)
  • 1965 MA, University of Helsinki (majoring in both Nordic languages and Education)
  • 1966-67 Teacher Training College, pedagogical teacher training, Helsinki
  • 1975 Official Interpreter and Translator Examination, Helsinki
  • 1976 First PhD (Licentiate of Philosophy), University of Helsinki (thesis on Bilingualism and school achievement, 368 pages)
  • 1987 Second PhD (Advanced Doctorate, dr.phil.), Roskilde University.


but still, since 1993: Åbo Akademi University, Vasa, Finland, part-time reader/Associate Professor (docent) in Education, with Speciality in Minority Education and Linguistic Human Rights.

  • 1964-66 Espoon Ammattikoulu, Finland, (Espoo Vocational School), teacher of Swedish language arts and Social Science (for Swedish-speaking pupils in a bilingual school).
  • 1967-68 Harvard University, USA, Dept of Nordic Languages (research assistant for prof. Einar Haugen).
  • 1968-69 Rudolf Steiner School, Helsinki, Finland, teacher of Swedish as L2 and German (for Finnish-speaking pupils).
  • 1969-70 Comprehensive schools, Helsinki, Finland, teacher of Swedish as L2 in observational classes.
  • 1970-76 University of Helsinki, Dept. of Nordic Languages, Finland, assistant, lecturer, assistant professor.
  • 1970-71 (5 months) Finnish Radio, School Radio Languages Section, programme coordinator.
  • 1978-1980 Finnish Academy (coordinating central research body), research assistant.
  • 1980-81 Danish Social Sciences Research Council, researcher
  • 1984-1988 Finnish Academy, director of the research project The Education of the Finnish Minority in Sweden (with prof. Pertti Toukomaa); director of its subproject Communication Strategies of Finnish Youngsters in Sweden
  • 1987 Swedish Humanities Reserch Council, research project Migrant Women as Crisis Solvers (with dr. Aleksandra Ålund)
  • 1990-93 Copenhagen University, Denmark, Minority Studies, (part-time) Assoc. Professor (ekstern lektor).
  • 1995-2000 Roskilde University, Denmark, Associate Professor; part-time reader; guest researcher 1979-.

Boards, Advisory Committees, Scientific Associations, etc:
At present
  • Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (Association for Finnish Literature), corresponding member, 1989-
  • CRITICS (Centers for Research Into Text/Talk, Information and Communication in Society) Foundation, founding member and member of the Board from start 1994- to 2008; Advisory Board member 2008-
  • Terralingua, Partnerships for Linguistic and Biological Diversity; founding member 1996; Vice-President; Member of Board of Directors; Member of Executive Board, all 1997-2004. Member of Advisory Committee 2004-.
  • International Center for Writing and Translation, University of California Irvine, Member of Executive Board (from 2006).
  • EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), member of Advisory Council since 2005 (EUTCC is a civic commission to monitor Turkish Compliance with the criteria set by the EU; established by the Rafto Foundation (Norway), Kurdish Human Rights Project (UK), Medico International (Germany) and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales).
  • Project From Mother Tongue To Other Tongue: facilitating transition in multilingual education of tribal children in India, Member of International Advisory Committee (Project directed by professors Ajit K. Mohanty & Minati Panda, Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, and financed by Bernard van Leer Foundation).
  • Project Multilingual Education Programme for all non-Nepali Speaking Students of Primary Schools of Nepal, international consultant (the Ministry of Government of Nepal, Ministry of Education and Sports, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland), 2007-
  • International Research Award from the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada, for meetings to develop the L1-based MLE framework (2008).
  • Interdisciplinary Centre on Minority Protection (ICEMP), University of Rotterdam, the Netherlands (director professor Kristin Henrard), member of the Advisory Board, from start 2008-
  • Project/Consortium Future Empowerment of European Minorities through Multilingual & Multicultural Research, member of the Advisory Board from the start, 2008-
  • AFinLA (Finnish Association for Applied Linguistics), Secretary from its start 1970-1972, Board Member 1970-72, 1975-76.
  • Nordic Summer University, leader of several groups 1970-1973, member of the Finnish Board 1970-73, member of the Nordic Board 1971-73.
  • Norden Association, Chair of the Cultural Policy Committee 1970-72, Chair of the Language Policy Committee 1970-79, member and Vice-President of the Helsinki Board 1971-79, member of the Central Nordic Board 1973-79.
  • Nordic Association of Immigrant and Minority Researchers, Board Member from the start (to end) 1981-1986.
  • The National Union of Finnish Associations in Sweden, Board member of the Research Policy Committee from the start (to end), 1983-1991.
  • Elverum Namibia Association (Norway), member of the Educational Language Planning for Namibia-group 1982-1988.
  • World University Service, Denmark, member of the Southern Africa Educational group 1982-1990.
  • ADLA (Danish Association for Applied Linguistics), Board member 1984-86.
  • Institut für Migrations- und Rassismusforschung (Hamburg, Germany), Board member of the Wissenschaftliche Beirat from the start, 1987 to the end 1993.
  • AILA (International Association for Applied Linguistics), President of the Scientific Commission of Language and Education in Multilingual Settings (together with prof. Bernard Spolsky), 1984-1993.
  • ISA (International Sociological Association), Research Committee on Ethnic, Race and Minority Relations, Vice-President 1986-90, Board member, 1986-1993.
  • IASR (International Association for the Study of Racism), Board member from start to end 1991-1999.
  • International Network of Researchers on Linguistic Human Rights, joint coordinator (with Robert Phillipson) from start to end 1986-1994.
  • DKKM (Den Danske Komité for Kurdernes Menneskerettigheder) (=The Danish Committee for Human Rights for the Kurds), Board member from the start, 1991-1998; Advisory Board member 1998-2000.
  • Kurd-lal (Kurdish Research Network), Coordinator for linguistic human rights, from the start 1995-2000.
  • CRITICS International Foundation (CRITICS = Critical Research Into Text/Talk, Information and Communication in Society), Board member, from the start, 1994 to the end 1999.
  • ECMI (European Centre for Minority Issues), Flensburg, Germany, Advisory Council member (by invitation), 1999-2002.
  • OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, member of Expert mission to Slovakia and Hungary, 1996; member of Expert Committee drawing up The Hague Recommendations Reagarding Minority Education Rights and The Hague Recommendations - Explanatory Note 1996.
  • University of California Educational Research Center, Fresno, Advisory Committee, Founding member (by invitation), from the start, until the center ceased to exist, 1994-1998.
  • Language Policy Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Israel, International Advisory Committee Member (by invitation), from the start, 1995-
  • Académie Internationale de Droit Linguistique / International Academy of Language Law (since 1992), Member (by invitation).
  • Center for Konfliktløsning (Centre for Conflict Resolution), Copenhagen, Denmark, Member of Akademiet (Advisory Board) by invitation, from the start, 1994-

ABES, Annotated Bibliography for English Studies, Swets and Zeitlinger, joint editor (with Robert Phillipson) for 'International Englishes and Language Policy', 1998-2003.
Series editor for the book series Multilingualism and Linguistic Diversity (Swets & Zeitlinger), 1998-2002.
Series editor for the book series Linguistic Diversity and Language Rights (Multilingual Matters), 2003-

Editorial Boards:
At present:
  • Discourse and Society, Advisory Board member from the start, 1989-1999; 1999- Honorary Advisory Board
  • Language Problems and Language Planning, member of the Editorial Board, 1997.
  • Ibero-American Journal on Critical Discourse Analysis, member of the Advisory Board, from the start, 1998-.
  • Language Policy, member of the Editorial Board, from the start, 2001-
  • Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, member of the Editorial Board, from the start, 2001-
  • Critical Inquiry in Language Studies: An International Journal, member of the Editorial Board, from the start, 2003-
  • The International Journal of Multilingualism, member of the Editorial Board, from the start, 2003-
  • Porta Linguarum, member of the Scientific Committee of the Editorial Board, from the start 2003-
  • AlterNative journal, member of the International Advisory Board, from the start 2005-

Nordisk Minoritetsforskning, later Invandrare och Minoriteter/Nordic Minority Research Journal, editor from the start 1973-1993 (later local Danish editor).
International Education Journal, member of the Editorial Board, 1983-1984.
The Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, member of the Editorial Board, 1982-1996.

Referee for journals (in addition to the ones above):
  • Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
  • International Journal of Applied Linguistics
  • Asian and Pacific Migration Journal
  • Language and Education
  • Language Sciences
  • International Review of Education (UNESCO Institute for Education)
  • Journal of Human Rights
  • Journal of Sociolinguistics
  • Ethnicities
  • International Journal of Educational Development
  • Patterns of Prejudice:

Referee of research proposals for the European Science Foundation, Norwegian Research Council, Austrian Science Fund.

Publications - see separate lists of publications

Entries about TSK in professional encyclopedias, etc:
Nationalencyklopedin, Sweden (ed. for linguistics prof. Claes-Christian Elert, 1996)
Encyclopedia on Bilingualism and Bilingual Education (ed. Colin Baker, Multilingual Matters, UK, 1997)
Vem och Vad. Biografisk handbok, Finland (main editor Henrik Ekberg, Helsingfors: Schildts, 1996, p. 539).
Who's Who in the World, since 16th edition, 1999 (New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who's Who).
Kansallisbiografia [The National Biographies], Suomi/Finland, 2008

External Examiner of PhDs abroad; professorial committees
University of Oulu, Dept of Finnish and Sámi, Finland (Marjut Aikio; dr.phil.)
University of Alberta, Dept of Psychology, U.S.A. (Laura Ho, PhD).
University of Hyderabad, India, Dept of Linguistics and Translation Studies (Shailendra Kumar Singh, PhD).
University of Adelaide, Dept of Linguistics, Australia (Rob Amery), PhD.
University of Toronto, OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), Modern Language Center (Shelley Taylor, PhD).
University of Adelaide, Australia (rejected the candidate)..
University of Helsinki, Dept of Social Policy (Kristiina Koivunen, dr.pol.)
Professorial Committees or Referee: University of Tromsø, Norway; University of Toronto, Canada; University of Oslo, Norway; Colombia University, Teachers College, USA.

PhDs supervised
Mart Rannut, University of Tartu, Estonia, 2003
Lava Deo Awasthi, Danish Pedagogical University, Denmark, 2005
Francis Hult, University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburg, USA, 2007
Ulla Aikio-Puoskari, University of Oulu, Finland, 2009

Recipient of one of the two 2003 Linguapax Prizes. The Linguapax Prizes are awarded "to linguists, researchers, professors and members of the civil society in acknowledgement of their outstanding work in the field of linguistic diversity and/or multilingual education". "Among more than twenty nominations received from all over the world, the Jury of the Linguapax awards, formed by the members of the Steering and Advisory Committee of the Linguapax Institute has decided to award this year Ms. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Ms. Aina Moll. During the spring [2003], a public ceremony will be held to deliver personally the awards to the prizewinners". (See The prizewinners names were published 21st. February, 2003, on UNESCO's International Mother Language Day.
Recipient of the Carl Axel Gottlund prize, 2003 (Sweden).

Guest lectures at every Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian university, most of them tens of times, and at most Danish and German universities. Lectures at universities in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Italy, Latvia, Mexico, Nepal, The Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA, Yugoslavia, Zambia, many of them tens of times. Lectures at conferences in all these and several other countries (e.g. The Mari Republic, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius).

Initiator, organiser, chairperson etc for numerous Finnish, Swedish, Nordic, multilateral and international conferences, symposia etc, (among them The First Nordic Conference on Bilingualism (1976), The First Scandinavian-German Conference on the Language of Immigrant Workers and their Children (1978)) and sections and symposia at international congresses.

Over 1000 lectures, workshops and courses (up to several weeks), all over the world, for teachers, minority parents, school administrators, students, researchers, politicians etc.

Plenary/keynote speaker at several hundred conferences, symposia etc.

Assessor (and supervisor) of PhDs, book manuscripts, peer reviewer, referee etc. of several hundreds of articles etc in many countries; consultant of varied projects in many countries at most imaginable levels.

Visiting Scholar:

-University of Lund, Dept of Education, Sweden, 1974, 1977, 1978, one term each time
-Institute of Education, University of London, UK 1983 (one term)
-University of Melbourne, Australia 1994 (guest of Australian Vice-Chancellors; 3 months; with lectures and seminars at several universities in Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide);
-Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore 1994-95 (2½ months; with lectures and seminars at many universities around the country (in Hyderabad, Bhubaneshwar, Pune, Hampi, Mysore, Depts of Linguistics, Education, English, Psychology, Law, Architechture, Indian Languages, Kannada);
-University of Pécs, Hungary 1995, 2 weeks;
-South Africa, guest of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa, 1997 (16 days, lectures and seminars at several universities: UNISA, Dept of African Languages, Witwatersrand (Wits), Dept of Afrikaans; Free State, Language Facilitation Programme, Cape Town, Dept of Education, and PRAESA, Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, Western Cape, Dept of Education, with Vista and Stellenbosch; special symposia, e.g. State Language Services Workshop on "Marketing linguistic human rights", HSRC building, Pretoria; discussions in several ministries, human rights bodies, NGOs etc.
-Cambridge University, CRASH (Center for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, UK), visiting professor, 2 months 2005.


Mode: Understand, Speak, Read, Write
Scale: 1. a bit 2. can get by 3. fair everyday competence 4. good command 5. very good command 6. near-native command 7. native command (all except mother tongues only in relation to formally educated "standard" variant, not dialects, and in my professional fields):

Finnish U7 S7 R7 W7 Mother tongue
Swedish U7 S7 R7 W7 Mother tongue
English U6 S6 R6 W6 5 years at school; main working language; British husband
Danish U6 S4 R7 W5 Many Danes understand Swedish; speaking the least needed mode
Norwegian U5 S4 R6 W4 As above
German U4 S3 R5 W4 7 years at school; cooperation with German colleagues for decades
French U1 S0 R1 W0 Never studied
Latin U0 S0 R2 W1 Lessons at home at the age of 4; 3 years in school; 1 year plus exam at university
Spanish, Italian U1 S0 R1 W0 Never studied; Latin etc help understanding a bit
Esperanto U0 S0 R1 W0  

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