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"The Multilingual Challenge - the Next Generation"

The Conseil européen pour les langues / European Language Council (CEL/ELC) was founded thirteen years ago with a view to providing a forum where universities and specialist organisations could meet to discuss matters of language policy independent of political and ideological constraints, and to plan joint activities, such as European projects. The founding members felt that in the area of languages - like in so many other areas - universities had to recognise and respond to new challenges resulting from changes in the social, economic, and professional environments, as well as in education itself.

Without doubt, the CEL/ELC has had a major role in the development of language policy and language education policy at all levels, and through its projects it has initiated curriculum innovation in member institutions and beyond. In all this, it was keen to engage in consultation and collaboration with strategic partners and stakeholders, to the extent that last year it extended its membership to include organisations and institutions that share its general aims.

Over the past two years the CEL/ELC Board has come to realise that - as a result of globalisation, the internationalisation of public and private organisations, migration into Europe, trans-European mobility, and rapid developments in technology - Europe is now confronted with a new multilingual challenge of unparalleled complexity and size that gives rise to new questions and calls for new answers. At the same time, there are indications that there is widespread lack of awareness of this new challenge and of the need for new policies and new action.

The 2010 CEL/ELC Forum is designed to raise awareness of new short- and medium-term language-related challenges - among CEL/ELC members, strategic partners, policy-makers, and other stakeholders. It will present outcomes of recent and ongoing projects relevant to the new challenges, as well as the aims and activities of the new CEL/ELC Special Interest Groups created in response to challenges recognised. It will also showcase successful and exemplary practices, and seek to pave the way for new projects. While the organisers of the Forum firmly believe that the complexity and scope of the new multilingual challenge calls for a European effort, they are fully aware of the fact that there are huge differences across Europe with regard to language learning, education and proficiency, language use, and language needs.

Day One of the Forum considered the new challenges from the point of view of education, notably higher education. On Day Two, representatives of research projects on multilingualism launched under the EU's 6th and 7th Framework Programmes reflected on pertinent issues addressed in their projects, as well as on new issues emerging from their projects. In this way, the organisers of the Forum contributed to the thematic conception of (a) future policy-relevant research project(s) in this field.

The programme and all of the presentations at the Forum can be found in the Archive.