The first Brussels Day of Multilingualism took place in the Brussels Parliament on Saturday 26 September. It was there that the new Brussels Council for Multilingualism was installed, chaired by political philosopher and economist Philippe Van Parijs. VUB professor of sociology Rudi Janssens and professor of Dutch linguistics Wim Vandenbussche are part of the Council.
Janssens is a researcher at the Brussels Information, Documentation and Research Centre (BRIO) and he works on issues including aspects of language use and language policy in Brussels. Vandenbussche leads the research group for linguistics CLIN and the Academic Centre for Language Education ACTO; language planning and language contact are the major focus of his teaching and research.
“The BRIO language barometer survey clearly shows that a multilingual city like Brussels can only function if the people of Brussels are also multilingual or want to become so. The Council for Multilingualism wants to support this process,” says Janssens.
“Language conflict has divided Brussels for decades, but today there is a new Brussels in which multilingualism is the basis of an open society. For tomorrow’s children, knowledge of languages is essential if they are to seize the opportunities to which they are entitled. In the Council for Multilingualism, we combine this social approach with practical experience and scientific expertise,” says Vandenbussche.
The first Brussels Day of Multilingualism is a project by Brussels minister Sven Gatz, who is responsible for the promotion of multilingualism in Brussels. The aim of the day is to bring together all those who are interested in multilingualism in Brussels and who want to get to know other languages and exchange ideas on the subject. The day was live-streamed and can be watched here.
Other members of the Council for Multilingualism include Yvon Englert (ULB), Dirk Jacobs (ULB), Laurence Mettewie (UNamur) and Aimée-fidèle Mukunde (Minderhedenforum).
More info: VUB Press
BeTalky – new platform for multilingualism in Brussels
BETALKY is responsible for the promotion of multilingualism in Brussels. Our city has 1.2 million inhabitants, who speak over 100 different languages. The advantages of multilingualism are manifold. In addition to enhancing opportunities on the labor market, multilingualism promotes cohesion between the inhabitants of Brussels.
Both within our superdiverse city and beyond its borders, speaking several languages is important for a shared citizenship and the mutual understanding it requires. Multilingualism is henceforth a central part of the Brussels identity and this will be even more so in the future.
More info: BeTalky website