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ECML 15th anniversary: Celebrating ‘plurilingualism’

This summer marks the 15th anniversary of the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML), created by the Council of Europe as a dynamic advocate for linguistic plurality in the European Union. Based in Graz, Austria, the ECML encourages innovation in the teaching and learning of languages, with particular interest in initiating and supporting cooperation between policy-makers and practitioners. In the 15 years since its founding, the ECML has remained a key actor in instituting language instruction policies and spreading good practices, all with the aim of enabling Europeans to interact with each other in different languages and cultural contexts.

In marking this anniversary, the ECML is looking forward to its future, in which it sees lifelong language learning and instruction tailored to the social needs of the learner as important areas for growth. Also, the ECML seeks to further incorporate the promotion of cross-border mobility in higher education and scientific research into its activities in areas of both policy and practice. In many ways, the ECML’s commitment to maintaining European linguistic diversity in education is a marked (and refreshing) departure from the rapid proliferation of English-taught academic programmes at universities throughout Europe and the rest of the world; in their eyes, the most productive exchanges of students and scholars require abilities in multiple languages—not just one or two.

Council of Europe