“Globalization, Modernity and Knowledge. Opportunities and challenges in a Multilingual world ”

Aquesta setmana he tingut el plaer de ser la patrocinadora d’una jornada de la Xarxa d’Universitats Europees pel Multilingüisme, aquí trobareu una transcripció de la meva aportació.

This week I’ve had the pleasure to host the final conference of the European Universities Network on Multilingualism (EUNoM), held by the Department of Applied Linguistics of Erasmushogeschool Brussel. The event has been supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union.

“This network studies the issue of linguistic diversity in the context of the Lisbon goals of achieving a competitive, dynamic, knowledge-based economy. Political, economic and social changes call for a new relationship between universities, social actors and linguistic diversity. Higher Education departments need to overcome compartmentalization and build a framework drawing on the joint expertise to work towards a truly institutional approach to multilingualism.

The EUNoM network was set up to investigate these issues and to try and develop synergies between the key actors. The network consists of 7 full partners and 17 associate partners, drawn from universities and institutions across Europe, and the network coordinator is the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona.”

“Globalization, Modernity and Knowledge. Opportunities and challenges in a Multilingual world ”
Maria Badia i Cutchet MEP
European Parliament, 18th October 2012

Good morning to you all,
Dear colleagues and friends,

First of all, let me thank you the European Universities Network on Multilingualism (EUNOM) – specially Miquel Strubell, project coordinator – for inviting me to host the final conference on your project; a project supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme. It is of great interest to study on how dealing with multilingualism in the context of globalisation and information society and how it can be tackled from teaching and learning perspective.

Last spring, I had the chance to participate to the EUNOM 5th Symposium in Barcelona and listen to some of the contributions of the participants, specially on the impact of ICTs in learning languages. On that occasion, I went through what the EU and the European Parliament had done so far on multilingualism.

That is why I am particularly pleased that we can hold this final conference here today, in the European Parliament. I think it is the right place to discuss such an important issue and all the challenges it may entail. Indeed, the fundamental nature of the European Union is the one of diversity and, hence, the European Parliament and all the people working here are a good example of it.

There are many issues to be tackled in the field of multilingualism that you have discussed throughout the last 2 years. Issues such as:
a) training of language teachers and pedagogic tools for language learning;
b) the role of universities in helping multilingualism as a core skill and a valuable asset to meet the challenges of the knowledge economy;
c) managing language diversity at work and how it actually affects labour markets; or
d) how ICTs can become a crucial tool to learn languages and to promote linguistic and cultural exchanges;

In any case, these many challenges – that shall be further introduced and discussed during the conference today – will need a decisive commitment from our side, from the EP and EU institutions, to get the support and resources they require.

That’s why I would like to conclude, by recalling the idea I mentioned during my participation to the EUNOM 5th Symposium in Barcelona. That is the concept of innovation, as a necessary tool to turn EUNOM proposal into concrete policies and actions.

Innovation Union, within the EU2020 Strategy, stresses the need to invest in the future of the EU by feeding the so-called “knowledge triangle”: education, research and innovation. This virtuous circle should become the very essential fuel for growth and welfare.

And this will only be possible with strong tools to support the triangle vertex, tools such as promoting multilingualism and ICTs in the context of education, training programs, research field and labour market.

I hope this final conference is fruitful and allow us to establish common objectives and work all together to face the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Thank you very much for your attention and have a good work.

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