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Distinguished Public Service
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Call for Nominees for
AAAL Award for Distinguished Public Service

The American Association for Applied Linguistics announces a new award: The AAAL Award for Distinguished Public Service. In bestowing this award, the association recognizes individuals outside of the field of applied linguistics – writers, journalists, politicians, lawyers, etc. – whose work (1) non-AAAL member(s) raises public awareness of important social issues connected to language and (2) makes exceptional contributions to promotion of multilingualism, linguistic social justice, and language-related human rights. The Award will be given annually and is not to be confused with the AAAL Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award, which is given to members of AAAL.


Criteria for eligibility include but are not limited to the following:

  • significance of language issues addressed by the nominee’s work;
  • demonstrability of the public impact of nominee’s work and community engagement (e.g., impact on language policies in education and other institutional settings);
  • attention to vulnerable and minoritized populations, such as immigrant children and indigenous language speakers; and
  • equitable engagement with communities outside academia, grassroots language activism, championing the voices of community partners, and cultivating leadership among stakeholders.
  • The awardee cannot be a member of AAAL currently or within the past five years.

Nomination procedure

All nominations should include (a) a one-page letter providing the candidate’s contact information and describing their work and its impact, and (b) supporting materials, such as publications, links to websites, articles in popular media and social media, letters of commendation, etc. There are three questions that must guide nomination letters:

  1. What is the focus of the nominee’s work, what motivates that person (in your opinion), how long has he/she been doing this work?
  2. How does the nominee’s work relate to the mission and vision of AAAL (e.g., does it promote linguistic social justice and language-related human rights)?
  3. What is the public impact of the nominee’s work? Please describe activities and accomplishments that stand out as particularly meritorious, including evidence, where appropriate, in the form of website links, (references to) publications, articles in popular and social media, letters of commendation, etc.

The deadline for nominations was June 1, 2017.

The Award

  1. The award is given to an individual or team of non-AAAL members, including but not limited to, writers, politicians, and other high profile figures. Should the award be given to a team, the team will decide which individual will accept the award on the team’s behalf.
  2. The award shall include flight, train and/or mileage reimbursement; ground transportation to and from hotels and airports; hotel room and tax for up to four nights at the conference host hotel; costs associated with securing a visa, as necessary; food and beverage reimbursement up to the per diem based on U.S. General Services Administration guidelines (; complimentary registration fee; a plaque for the awardee or one member of the team. Honorary lifetime membership in AAAL will be given to each awardee.
  3. The awardee will be invited to receive the award in person and to give a talk at the conference.

The winner of the inaugural AAAL Distinguished Public Service Award will be announced at the AAAL 2018 conference.

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