|Trans||Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften||13. Nr.||Januar 2003|
Walter Schwimmer (Generalsekretär, Europarat
/ Secretary General of the Council of Europe / Secrétaire
European Language Year 2001, launched jointly by the Council of Europe and the European Union, has turned out to be a huge success. A wide range of local, national and European initiatives in 45 countries have made Europeans aware of the amazing linguistic diversity of our Continent. The slogan 'Europe, a wealth of languages' encourages us to see this diversity as a valuable source of enrichment rather than as a possible barrier to communication and co-operation.
The Council of Europe works for the protection and promotion of this rich linguistic heritage through the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. I am particularly pleased that Austria, too, has ratified the Charter on the occasion of the European Year of Languages.
Linguistic diversity is one aspect, effective communication another. Europeans have become more and more aware of the need to develop language skills with a view to successfully communicating in an increasingly multicultural Europe. 'Languages open doors', the other slogan of the Language Year, stresses the need to learn modern languages. They do indeed open doors doors to opportunity for employment, study and travel.But language learning does even more than that. Through learning new languages, we can gain insights into other societies and cultures, other ways of seeing and doing things. Europeans thus develop the positive acceptance of diversity, which is a condition sine qua non for living and working together peacefully in our multilingual and multicultural societies.
Your Conference on "Multilinguality, Transnationality, Cultural Studies" will look at exactly this issue: how are language, culture, identity, nationality, connected from a cultural, legal and social point of view. Unfortunately, it was not possible for me to join you tonight, but I look forward to receiving a report on your deliberations and wish you a successful meeting.
© Walter Schwimmer (Generalsekretär, Europarat / Secretary General of the Council of Europe / Secrétaire Général, CE)
table of contents: No.13
For quotation purposes - Zitierempfehlung:
Walter Schwimmer: Grußworte / Welcoming Remarks / Discours d'ouverture. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften. No. 13/2002.