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2022 CEL/ELC Forum: “Languages in European University Alliances: Challenges and Issues”

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Photo: D. Prickett, edit: Zessko

The 2022 Forum of the Conseil Européen pour les Langues/European Language Council (CEL/ELC), of which the University of Potsdam is a member, took place from December 1 – 2, 2022 at the Universidad de Sevilla. Nineteen presentations from 11 European university alliances were given. Together, the presenters sought to determine what role languages will play in these alliances, which generally focus on themes such as education and citizenship, digital technology, the environment, societal transformations, or health.

Since 2019, the University of Potsdam has held the leading role in the consortium “European Digital UniverCity” (EDUC), which has further broadened the University’s international scope of research and teaching. The “City” in “EDUC” connotes the personal relationships, social engagement, and democratic values of an inclusive European polis. Two of the University’s seven planned EDUC outcomes are internationalization at home (via virtual exchange scenarios and online classes) and language courses and language e-tandems. What is more, EDUC should serve to enhance the intercultural skills and language competencies of the University’s students and staff via on-site, blended-learning or fully online classes in one (or several) of the eight European languages of the alliance: Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish–and English. In theory, this linguistic diversity provides students with the possibility to exceed the European Commission’s goal of mastering two European languages in addition to their native language.

Onsite and virtual mobility initiatives in EDUC have profited from Zessko’s course offerings, which foster students’ language and intercultural competence skills. In turn, EDUC has bolstered the central role Zessko plays in the strategic international development of the University of Potsdam. In his presentation, Dr. David Prickett, Head of Zessko, highlighted the challenges and opportunities facing the University of Potsdam (and Zessko in particular) with regard to the promotion of multilingualism in the EDUC alliance. In the context of general discussions on multilingualism in Europe, Prickett discussed measures in the areas of internationalization and student and staff (virtual) mobility, presented Zessko’s EDUC collaborative online language projects, and offered some recommendations for promoting multilingualism in EDUC. He concluded that academic collaboration propels the development of both the “Digital” and the “City” in EDUC. However, strategic milestones for not only “doing Europe” but also “communicating Europe” (Suzanne Romaine) at all EDUC institutions are necessary in order to put theory to practice.

Dr. Prickett’s participation in this conference was made possible by EDUC.


Contact: Dr. David Prickett

Published on January 10, 2023