PANEL DISCUSSION (in English). Please register by 6 November!
There are 24 official languages in the European Union, with many more regional and minority languages spoken within its borders. Some countries have more than one official language, as in the case of Finland, where Finnish and Swedish are the two main languages.
The aim of this panel is to discuss the possibilities and challenges that come with linguistic diversity. In particular, we are eager to reflect on the question of how the status of minority and regional languages has changed in Europe over the past decades. What differences and similarities are there in the linguistic policies of the various regions, and what could countries learn from each other? What challenges do the speakers of minority languages face today? Do we need linguistic diversity in the European Union and if so, why? What role do foundations and researchers play in the context of all these questions?
These issues will be addressed by a group of experts:
Yvonne Bindrim, from the University of Greifswald, has recently defended her PhD thesis on the official multilingualism of Finland in the light of language attitudes;
Brigitta Busch is professor of applied linguistics at the University of Vienna, specializing in questions of multilingualism, language biographies and the assessment and analysis of language repertoires;
Sören Lillkung is a singer and a music pedagogue with wide experiences and knowledge of the organization of Finland-Swedish cultural life; as the CEO of “Svenska Kulturfonden” he leads one of the central institutions supporting Swedish-language cultural activities in Finland;
Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark, associate professor in international law, is the Director of the Åland Islands Peace Institute in Mariehamn. She works mainly on issues of diversity, pluralism, minorities and restraints in the use of force.
The panel will be moderated by Laura Hirvi, the director of the Finnish Institute in Germany.