International Seminar Series: Refugees Need Language- Perspectives on the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants (LIAM) Initiative of the Council of Europe
Title of Presentation: Refugees Need Language: Perspectives on the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants (LIAM) Initiative of the Council of Europe
Speaker: Zsuzsanna Fagyal, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Italian and French, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Presentation Overview: A record number of over five million people, mostly adult migrants and refugees from non-EU countries, immigrated to the European Union since 2015. The exact number of people in transit, relocated, or immigrated to non-EU countries remains difficult to estimate. Predictably, the integration of this newly arrived workforce to Europe represents many challenges. One of them is the rapid acquisition of basic competence in the national languages of the host countries that can be particularly difficult for adult migrants in precarious living conditions. In this presentation, I will offer an overview of the Council of Europe’s ‘Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants’ (LIAM) initiatives that aim at facilitating this process in the Council’s forty-seven member states. Through reports of practical applications, such as toolkits for teaching adult migrants, and recommendations for language assessment at citizenship examinations, I will show similarities and differences in the priorities and practices of several participating member states. I will conclude by drawing attention to shared assumptions of inclusiveness and human rights that help educators and activists better adapt service practices developed elsewhere to different local conditions and traditions.
Speaker Bio: Zsuzsanna Fagyal (PhD, Université de Paris III Sorbonne Nouvelle) is Associate Professor of French and Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the sociophonetics of French and language policy and planning in Europe. She most recently published articles on sociolinguistic variation, language standardization, and language regimes in Europe, and is the author of an upcoming book on languages and minorities in Europe (Bristol, Multilingual Matters).
Series Overview: The International Seminar Series offers the Illinois State campus and Bloomington-Normal communities weekly opportunities to learn about a wide range of international topics. Guest speakers are usually experts in their fields across a range of disciplines who cover a wide array of cultural, historical, political and social topics.
Series events have become one of the most popular internationally focused events on campus and continue to draw ever-growing crowds of students, faculty and community members. Audience members are given time at each event to raise questions to enable a two-way participation and learning.
International Seminar Series events are free and open to the public, and occur every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. in the Bone Student Center. The spring 2018 series will focus on Europe in a global context.