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European Day of Languages – 26 September 2017: Statement from Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland

26 September 2017

 

“This year's European Day of Languages celebrates innovation in language learning and teaching.  This provides us with the perfect opportunity to highlight the huge value of Europe's cultural diversity. Europe's nations are always at their strongest and most prosperous when we are open and outward-facing, willing to embrace other ways of life, and when we welcome those who can contribute to our societies. By pausing to celebrate the dozens of languages spoken across our communities we can send a powerful message: that Europe is a truly multilingual place where all backgrounds are welcome and where everyone can have an equal voice. Hundreds of events have been organised by schools, universities and cultural establishments to mark the day. I would like to send my best wishes to all those taking part."

Background information on the Day

The European Day of Languages (EDL) is an annual celebration day to encourage language learning across Europe. At the initiative of the Council of Europe, EDL has been celebrated every year, on 26 September, since the European Year of Languages in 2001.

The specific aims of the EDL are to:

  • raise awareness of the importance of language learning in order to increase plurilingualism and intercultural understanding;
  • promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe;
  • encourage lifelong language learning in and out of school.

The dedicated website for the EDL is available in 36 languages and hundreds of activities are registered in the events’ calendar. The EDL activities which take place in Europe and increasingly on other continents are organised mainly by schools, universities, language and cultural institutes, associations and also by the European Commission’s translation field offices. In 2016 over 1100 events were recorded.

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