The adoption of the Millennium Declaration in 2000 by 189 member-states of the United Nations defined a critical moment for global cooperation as leaders committed themselves to achieve eight specific development objectives known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. As the largest and arguably most ambitious initiative on the international development agenda, the MDGs have become the normative framework for human development, and the MDG language of goals and targets now shapes the global debate about how to define and measure development. Examination of the progress achieved thus far towards the MDGs pinpoints language at the very heart of major fault lines in the development process: those most often left behind are language minorities. Keeping the promise of the MDGs requires a new understanding of the critical role of language in human development. Because there can be no true development with linguistic development, only by putting language at the center of development can we close the gaps and meet key targets of the MDGs and other global agendas such as Education for All (EFA) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). This article issues an urgent call for linguists to make their voices heard.