UNIC Lightning Bites: Cultivating Inclusive Societies

19/02/2024 13:30 - 21/02/2024 14:30

Join us over International Mother Language Day for a week of bite-size talks where we explore how languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion

The UNIC Lightning Bites series features short talks from diverse perspectives that address societal challenges faced by our cities in transition. They provide a platform to cross-fertilize thinking and action, and their insights are made available through recordings on UNIC’s Open Case Repository.

Cultivating Inclusive Societies 

How to Navigate Linguistic Diversity Effectively

February 19 – 21 (13:30-14:30 CET Mon-Wed)
Online via Zoom

During the week of International Mother Language Day (celebrated every year on the 21st February), UNIC will run a series of online lightening talks on the theme of mother languages. Connecting across the 10 Universities campuses, the short talks invite students, staff, city stakeholders and citizens to discuss how languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind. For more info regarding the theme please check: https://www.un.org/en/observances/mother-language-day.

Each lightning lab session will involve a 15-minute talk and 15-minute Q&A moderated by the host. Speakers should note that the audience is broad and recorded versions may be viewed by a general public audience. The talk should therefore be ‘plain English’ and relatable to non-experts.


Speakers and Schedule: 

February 19, 13:30-14:00 CET    
Yasmine BADIR and Audrey Thonard
University of Liège        

Language in the Digital Age : from Teacher-Paced Learning to Classroom Collaboration

Learning languages with the aid of digital tools has long been a solitary, silent and remote experience. In 2024, foreign language teachers, seasoned by months of health crisis, have a radically new understanding of the creative and collaborative potential of digital technology in face-to-face learning. In this talk, we will share some innovative teaching practices, designed to turn the classroom into a space that is even more dynamic and interactive.

February 19, 14:00-14:30 CET    
Liisa Väisänen    
University of Oulu    

Language awareness and multilingualism in a university community.  Her talk will shed some light on how to get everyone involved. She will share some practical case examples of how international members of the community have been helped to learn the local language.

February 20, 13:30-14:00 CET    
Lena Heine
Ruhr University Bochum


Is Multilingualism a Problem or an Advantage?    

Being proficient in  more than one language is frequently thought to be a cognitive and intercultural benefit, and actively promoted by foreign language teaching. This stands in stark contrast to how migration-related multilingualism is perceived, which is often thought to be an obstacle for academic success and as a threat to societal integration. In this brief talk, a summary of research results will be given which will show the need to clarify what we actually mean by „language“ and „language competence“, but also that an interdisciplinary approach is necessary to understand multilingualism in society. 

February 20, 14:00-14:30 CET        
Eider Inunciaga
Bilbao Council

Euskera, a minority language in a globalized world

February 21, 13:30-14:00 CET    

Two students from Rotterdam based Turkish student association Mozaik (Fatih Acer + one other student)    
Erasmus University Rotterdam

The role of mother language in shaping identity, resilience and opportunity    

Two students from the Turkish Student Association ''Mozaik'' in Rotterdam wil give a session about the role of Turkish as a mother language in their lives and the importance of it. Also they will give examples of various activities and events Mozaik organises for (Turkish) students that directly or indirectly are linked to the Turkish language.

February 21, 14:00-14:30 CET    
Figen Ecer
Koc University    

Multilingualism as a Catalyst for Cultural Understanding  

In this panel, we will explore the impact of cultural intelligence on navigating diverse contexts in the workplace. The panel will shed light on how multilingualism fosters cultural appreciation, breaks down barriers, and promotes global unity. We will also delve into the benefits of multilingual education, addressing challenges and solutions in implementing effective programs


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