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Multilingual matters at international language conference

13 January 2016

Professor Diarmait Mac giolla chriost  delivering his keynote address
Professor Diarmait Mac giolla chriost delivering his keynote address

The School of Modern Languages welcomed the new year by hosting the international conference of the Association of University Language Centres (AULC) at Cardiff’s iconic Millennium Stadium.

The conference took place on 7 – 8 January and was the 17th for the Association which gathers together professionals in the field of language teaching and learning; providing an opportunity to exchange good practice and explore latest developments in the area.

This was the first time that the Association had held their prestigious conference in Wales; last year’s conference was hosted by Cambridge University and next year’s takes place in Queen’s, Belfast.

The AULC has a membership of universities in the UK and the Republic of Ireland that run Languages for All programmes and/or have Language Centres. Cardiff University was therefore a perfect location for the conference as the University’s Languages for All programme, which offers free language courses, is now in its second successful year after teaching over 2,800 students in its first.

120 delegates attended the conference to listen to keynote speakers from Wales, The Netherlands and Germany discussing a variety of subjects under the theme of shaping a multilingual society. Professor Diarmait Mac giolla chriost of Cardiff University presented his ideas on Welsh Language Policy and Multicultural Wales while Dr. Kevin Haines of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands discussed the Opportunities and Challenges in the Multilingual and Multicultural Learning Space and Dr. Peter Tischer of the Universität des Saarlandes, Germany spoke about the German UNIcert Language Certificate for university students. John Pugsley of Welsh Government also spoke to attendees about the Global Futures strategy which is aimed at supporting modern languages in schools in Wales.

Dr Catherine Chabert, Director of Languages for All at Cardiff University and organiser of this year’s AULC conference said, “I wanted to host this prestigious event in Wales because Modern Languages are at the forefront of the Welsh agenda at the moment. Cardiff University has established its own standalone Modern Languages School which runs one of the most successful Languages for All programmes in the UK and the Welsh Government has recently launched its Global Futures strategy. This is an exciting time for languages and multilingualism in Wales so we were thrilled to welcome our peers from across the world to Cardiff to showcase the talent and ideas we have here.”

Dr John Morley, Chair of AULC said, "The conference at Cardiff was a success and will remain in people’s minds. It has undoubtedly contributed to enhancing the reputation of the Association."

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