The International Conference on Immersion and Dual Language Education: A Brief History
Conference Founder: The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA), began in 1993 as one of the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI Language Resource Centers, with a mission to improve the nation's capacity to teach and learn languages. Since its inception one of the priorities at CARLA has been to support immersion and dual language education through research and professional development initiatives. Towards that end, CARLA organized and hosted a series of international conferences dedicated to the exchange of professional practices, research findings, and resources among immersion and dual language professionals.
The inaugural International Conference on Immersion and Dual Language Education took place in 1995 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN with approximately 250 participants. Subsequent conferences hosted by CARLA in 2004, 2008, and 2012 experienced growing numbers of participants and an expanded program that included school visits and pre-conference workshops. Increased interest in the field and CARLA's desire to make the conference a biennial event led to the development of partnerships to host the conference at alternate venues. While CARLA hosted the conference once every four years, collaboration with state partners (Utah, 2014; North Carolina, 2019) served to make the conference available once every two years, extend outreach to educators on the east and west coasts, and meet the growing interest in immersion and dual language education around the world. At the last conference held in Minnesota in 2016 nearly 1,000 participants attended from 39 states and Washington D.C., and 20 countries, with a similar number attending the conference held in 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina.