In this guest post Jana Mehl, Poliglotti4.eu Project Assistant, reports on the Poliglotti4.eu Stakeholders Meeting on Multilingualism which took Place in Madrid between 1 and 2 December 2011. The Poliglotti4.eu project partners as well as experts, policy makers, stakeholders and members of civil society gathered in Madrid to reflect the current state of the project and discuss the situation of multilingualism in Europe.
Poliglotti4.eu is a project promoting multilingualism in Europe – the result of the deliberations of the EU Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism. The topics of the Stakeholders Meeting hosted by the Representation of the European Commission in Spain were the political recommendations of the EU Civil Society Platform on Multilingualism, results of Poliglotti4.eu so far (On-line Language Observatory, Survey results, Multilingualism Tools, Ambassadors, Web), migrations, languages and social inclusion, including languages and public services, language learning and education, language policies, including minority languages as well as language and the media.
The Meeting was opened by Poliglotti4.eu Project Director Uwe Mohr, Director of the Language Department at the Goethe-Institut in Brussels. The project was especially pleased to have won over so many high quality guest speakers, whose contributions to the conference were greatly appreciated by all participants. Among the speakers was also Belén Bernaldo de Quiros, Head of the Multilingualism Policy Unit at the European Commission DG EAC, who underlined the importance of fostering language competencies amongst European citizens and presented the new EU programme « Erasmus for All ». It is an instrument in the framework of the EU 2020 strategy of which the objective is the investment in knowledge and education. During the next year the programme will be negotiated with the EU Council and EU Parliament.
Among the other guest speakers on 1 December were Joseba Achotegui, Psychiatrist and Professor at the University of Barcelona who talked about language as a component of the Ulysses syndrome in migrants, Prof. Piet Van Avermaet, Director of the Centre for Diversity and Learning at the Ghent University (Belgium) speaking about Super diversity, glocalisation and multilingualism and Prof. Concepción Otero Moreno from the University of Hildesheim and Braunschweig Mayor City (Germany). She delivered a speech about immigration, language and integration as well as training courses for language mediators in the non-academic field.
On day 2 of the Stakeholders Meeting spoke inter alia Ms. Carmen Valero Garces, Professor of Interpretation and Translation at Alcalá University who presented the university’s programme on multilingualism and public services. Another very interesting speech was given by Gardenia Trezzini, Editor in Chief at Euronews. Ms. Trezzini explained how Euronews dealt with its 11 working languages, as well as about difficulties and challenges incurring from this extensive language regimen.
Project partners of EU organisations representing the non-formal and informal learning as well as the arts and cultural sector agreed upon the highly relevant influence civil society actors play in shaping innovative language learning approaches and multilingual services in the European public space. In order for this to be achieved, convincing multilingualism policies are required.
The meeting was a great opportunity to exchange ideas, examples of best practice and to discuss the current situation of multilingualism in the European Union. All participants appreciated very much the varied and high quality contributions of experts, policy makers, stakeholders and members of the civil society brought together by this event.
For more information on the project and the Stakeholders Meeting please visit our project website www.poliglotti4.eu
Contact: Ulla-Alexandra Mattl, Project Manager Polilgotti4.eu (firstname.lastname@example.org )