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22 June 2024  

Celebration of European Day of Languages 2018 at NUI


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Celebration of European Day of Languages 2018 at NUI

The National University of Ireland welcomed over 40 guests from embassies, consulates and cultural institutes in Ireland, NUI constituent university schools and departments of languages to a celebration of European Day of Languages 2018 on 26 September 2018 at the NUI building on Merrion Square. At the event NUI language awards alumni, Ita Kirwan, Rachel McNicholl and Aisling Ní Dhonnabháin shared their stories with attendees of how their love for and study of languages has shaped their lives. NUI has proudly funded scholarship in Ireland for over 100 years and continues to do so with awards funding to the value of c. €1 million each year. The NUI Travelling Studentships allow PhD students to travel to universities abroad to further enrich their PhD research and develop international academic collaborations.

NUI Award collaborations with French and Spanish Embassies in Ireland

The French and Spanish Ambassadors to Ireland spoke about the importance of language links with NUI and its constituent universities. H.E. Mr Stéphane Crouzat, Ambassador of France to Ireland made reference to President of France, Emmanuel Macron’s Vision for Languages in Europe, an international drive to promote French as a “world language”. President Macron recently sent out a message of encouragement to Francophone countries to use the French language where possible rather than always diverting to English. H.E. José María Rodríguez Coso, Ambassador of Spain to Ireland referenced the Spanish language as a “bridge” not just to business and cultural relationships with Spain but also to Latin and South America, and through links with Portuguese, to the Lusophone countries.

NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning spoke about how greatly NUI values its collaborative awards in languages with the French and Spanish Embassies in Ireland, and warmly welcomes discussion with other embassies and consulates about opportunities for more NUI Awards in languages in the future.

Bliain na Gaeilge 2018

Síomha Ní Ruairc, co-ordinator of Bliain na Gaeilge attended the event and spoke about the year-long celebration of the Irish language, 125 years after the establishment of Conradh na Gaeilge, its successes to date and the importance of the promotion of the Irish language among students and young people in Ireland today to the future of the language.

Language teaching and learning in Ireland

Finally, Anna Ní Ghallachair, Maynooth University, addressed attendees, speaking about language learning in Ireland. She asserted that in spite of its position as ‘lingua franca’, to speak only English should not be seen as ‘enough’. She went on to say that the Irish government’s Languages CONNECT strategy is critically important but that not enough is being done to improve the standard of Irish language teaching and learning in Ireland.

The event closed with an open discussion among speakers and attendees about the value of languages in today’s world reference. Mr. Rachid Seghrouchni, Deputy Head of Mission to the Embassy of Morocco in Ireland made the point that as well as facilitating trade and commerce, foreign language learning facilitates peace-building among peoples. Dr Attracta Halpin, NUI Registrar spoke to the need for Ireland to explore the evidence linking the state’s bilingual language status to our capacity for foreign language learning.

Guests were welcomed to a tour of the newly-refurbished Goethe Institut at 37 Merrion Square after the event.

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NUI celebrates European Day of Languages


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