Johannesburg: The 9th World Hindi Conference will begin here on Saturday, seeking to promote and widen the reach of Hindi, the world`s second most spoken language.
The three-day event will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre.
In view of Mahatma Gandhi`s historic association with South Africa, the main venue has been named as `Gandhigram` for the event.
The conference will see the participation of about 700 non-native Hindi speaking scholars and delegates.
The event will be inaugurated by Indian Minister of State of External Affairs Preneet Kaur and a South African minister.
The theme of the conference this year will be "Identity of Language and Globalisation of Hindi".
The conference would also have nine academic sessions on subjects such as Mahatma Gandhi`s linguistic vision; Hindi and modern technology; role of Indian epics in propagation of Hindi; contribution of foreign scholars in dissemination of Hindi; Mass media and Hindi, etc.
Twenty people from India and twenty others from abroad will be honoured for their contributions towards propagation and popularisation of Hindi.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a statement that, "tradition of World Hindi Conference has received a global identity and encouragement, and the event has always attracted Hindi scholars and supporters which is proof of Hindi`s rising popularity across the world."
The Prime Minister hoped that the event would provide an important global platform for scholars to exchange views and further expand the spread of Hindi.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna also said in a statement, "In this age of fast-paced development, languages have to adapt to these changes.
It is a testament to the inherent power of Hindi that it has emerged as a language of industry and information.
Thus it is no surprise that Hindi has rapidly emerged an important global language."
Organisation of World Hindi Conferences began more than three decades ago when the 1st World Hindi Conference was held in Nagpur.
In all, eight World Hindi Conferences have been held so far in different countries such as India (1975 and 1983), Mauritius (1976 and 1993), Trinidad & Tobago (1996), UK (1999), Suriname (2003)and the US (2007).
Resolutions have been passed at four past conferences favouring Hindi as an official language at the United Nations.
At present, Hindi is taught at about 150 universities around the world.
It is among seven languages recognised by UNESCO while many international TV channels have started broadcasting content in Hindi and other Indian languages.