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The South Asia Summer Language Institute (SASLI) was formally created in 2001-2002 by a joint action of the Directors of the eleven Title VI South Asia National Resource Centers in cooperation with the US Department of Education. The International Education Program Service of the US Department of Education ratified the decision in 2002 and classes were first offered in the summer of 2003 on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison. SASLI’s operation on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison is subject to renewal in five year increments, following favorable review by the Board of Trustees and the continued availability of local resources to support the Institute.
SASLI is dedicated to training students, faculty, and professionals in the languages of South Asia through its primary and secondary missions:
SASLI’s primary focus is two-fold:  South Asian language instruction, and  the professional training of instructors in language pedagogy appropriate to South Asia. To achieve these goals, SASLI offers intensive summer sessions of approximately a dozen languages on the elementary and intermediate levels; and pedagogy workshops for teaching best practices, and the application of newly developed language-learning tools.
SASLI likewise strives to effect secondary goals of increasing the number and quality of trained specialists to teach language, including from abroad, and to effect a close collaboration among other South Asian language-learning institutions, both domestic and foreign. Any organized activity that furthers those larger goals is considered to fall within the purview of the organization, and SASLI may from time to time effect additional individual or institutional collaborations to meet these goals.