The European Day of Languages has been celebrated every year since 2001 on 26 September, as an initiative of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
Throughout Europe, 800 million Europeans represented in the Council of Europe’s 47 member states are encouraged to learn more languages, at any age, in and out of school. Being convinced that linguistic diversity is a tool for achieving greater intercultural understanding and a key element in the rich cultural heritage of our continent.
Europe Direct NI ran a series of workshops in School in Enniskillen where pupils spent the day on a variety of activities promoting EU languages.
Every year Rainey Endowed, Magherafelt invite speakers into school to talk to students about the need for languages in order to have a successful career in a globally diverse world. A number of speakers from a wide range of business backgrounds talked about their work and the increasing need for languages in order to do business. Europe Direct NI provided information on the freedom to live, work and study in other regions of Europe and the range of languages spoken throughout each of the Member States.
Europe Direct NI ran a series of workshop for pupils from Drumglass High School looking at the opportunities to live, work and study throughout Europe.
Free movement of citizens, which is enshrined in the EU Treaties, is an integral component of the Single Market and a central element of its success: it stimulates economic growth by enabling people to travel and shop across borders. Equally, the free movement of workers benefits not only the workers involved but also the Member States’ economies, allowing for an efficient matching of skills with vacancies in the EU labour market.
Around 180 students explored the member states of the EU, the Eurozone and European languages through games and quizzes.
Every year, 26 September is the day the EU celebrates the many languages found in Europe – the EU’s 24 official languages, the 60 or so regional/minority languages, and the languages spoken by people who have come to Europe from other parts of the world. It was to draw attention to this rich linguistic heritage and diversity, that the European Union and the Council of Europe launched the European Year of Languages in 2001.
This year I spent the day in School taking the language classes for 123 year 8 to share with them the many facts about languages in the EU with activities to encourage them to continue learning languages throughout their lives.
This Anti Racism Training used art as a way to explore identify, stereotype and racism.
The great thing about working with young people is how open and honest they are!
We began by designing tattoos to reveal the cultural values that were important to them. Cultural diversity led to a lively debate and discussion setting the scene for the openness and honesty needed to discuss stereotypes. We used images and drama to explore racism and discrimination.
ART allowed the group to openly admit stereotypes, to acknowledge privilege and discrimination and confront racism and how to confront it.
The young people began by considering their own cultural influences before looking at how this impact on how we judge other cultures. They looked at who influences our views and the opinions we have of others to begin to raise awareness of own prejudices before exploring stereotyping.
The workshop then explored common definitions used and their varied meanings and then looked at International, EU And Legislation in N Ireland.
The most important thing raised was the need to take responsibility for challenging racism either individually or collectively.
Raising the Bar!
I was delighted to facilitate a group of young people 13 – 16yrs participating in a cross border and cross community programme called ‘Raising the Bar’. It is part of a programme where young people involved in sport look at their shared history supported by the SW Cluster Peace III Programme.
Speakers including David Scott from the Grand Orange Order of Ireland who provided a wonderful overview of the Orange Order and dispelled some myths. King William did not ride a white horse into battle! And LOL means Loyal Orange Lodge and not laugh out loud!
Donal MaAnallen from the Ulster Council of the GAA demonstrated the global reach and influence of the GAA in games such as soccer, shinty, hurling, ice hockey, handball, camogie and scór.
After hearing about music and dancing the young people learned some Ulster Scots steps and and danced ‘The Ferry Boat’! They then heard about the migration of the first Scots to Ulster and discovered if they had some Ulster Scots heritage through their family names.
The speakers emphasised the importance of understanding the heritage and traditions passed down through culture and the importance of being proud of your own cultural traditions but respecting the culture and traditions of others.
Watch them Ulster Scot’s dancing