Elgazette Logo newtrans  The magazine for English language teaching and English medium education

EU embraces a multilingual future for all

Samir Avdibegović writes

With 250 languages spoken today in Europe and many more worldwide, a number of questions arise. How is Europe managing its language diversity? What are the languages children should learn in schools to be competitive in tomorrow’s world? How many and what minority languages are being used in business, media and public spaces, and what would happen if they were to be used more or less?

Language Rich Europe (LRE) is an EU-funded project that tries to address these questions in 24 countries and regions in Europe. Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina are the only two non-EU countries participating in the programme.

The LRE project conducted research into language practices and policies in partnership with over thirty cultural and other institutions across Europe. We at the British Council provided project leadership and brought the programme together, and the results of this research provided an insight into language use in each of the participating countries, sparking an incredible discussion and a debate.

In Bosnia & Herzegovina media and public interest proved that research of this quality is part of what the public wants from the British Council and other partners. The media interest was the driving force during the presentation of results. The project created a network of over 600 language professionals in Europe, who will continue working on these issues and raising the significance of multilingualism.

‘Above all you managed to generate some great debate around issues pertinent in your country and the media response was overwhelming,’ said Aneta Qureshy, senior project manager at the British Council. ‘Television interviews, radio interviews; you really managed to raise the profile of LRE and the importance of multilingualism in your complex country.’
Results of the research are available in English on the Language Rich Europe website: www.language-rich.eu

Samir Avdibegović is acting director of English and education for the British Council Bosnia & Herzegovina