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EUNoM - European Universities Network on Multilingualism

How can universities, the world of business, the unions and the authorities work together to take advantage of the many doors that multilingualism can open in the new paradigm that the information society and the knowledge economy have brought with them?


How does multilingualism relate to the issues of migration (in both directions), information and communication technologies, and commerce and tourism worldwide?


The EUNoM network was set up to investigate these issues and to try and develop synergies between the key actors.


An aim of the EUNoM project is to create a sustainable network of universities, each of which either has created or is planning to study the feasibility of setting up, in the medium-term and in the light of the results of the first phase of the network, a Chair in multilingual and/or intercultural studies, or a coordinating unit charged with putting in place all internal reforms that multilingualism requires.


One of the functions of this unit will be to set up a coherent programme of multilingualism and interculturalism with the various components of the existing university structure (university teaching, research and practice). The pre-existing traditions and structures in the university will thus have to be modified.


The project seeks to outline the precise ways in which the approach the university has to the teaching of languages and cultures will need to be redefined. It involves revising the curriculum to better serve changing labour market needs; rethink existing organisational structures; study the possibility of developing integrated programmes; act in the light of the relationship between economic development, mobility and language learning; addressing a concern with social cohesion; and developing the EUNoM network as a strategic priority. To a great extent, this will involve a focus on the use of new technologies and the exploitation of the resources of the virtual campus.


All this involves the following, more specific objectives:


> To develop a coherent framework around a handful of key issues that will allow universities to reconceive the relationship between higher education and linguistic diversity;

>To establish an ongoing dialogue between network members that will lead to a degree of coherence by reference to such a reconception.

>To design a model of the conditions necessary in order to operationalise a coherent network of universities devoted to promoting multilingualism.

>To relate this model to formal learning and research settings while ensuring its transferability.

>To disseminate the project results to a wider audience through electronic publications and by presentations.

>To ensure the sustainability of the network’s activities beyond the initial co-funding period.


The project brings together over 20 European universities and two research centres which are willing to develop relevant multilingual structures and to engage in a high-level debate on the implications of multilingualism for Europe.


We will try and integrate these themes into a coherent programme which will help each university to rethink its relationship with multilingualism. The project includes evaluation, dissemination and sustainability activities, as well as consolidation of results in a set of project outputs.


For the November 2009 – October 2012 period, the EUNoM network has the support of the European Union through the Lifelong Learning Programme. You can access the project website by clicking here.