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World Language Centre - Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding

 

Languages and the cultures associated with them serve as one of the cornerstones of mankind’s cultural heritage. Language is the means by which people develop both cultural unity and personal identity. Linguistic versatility and an understanding of different cultures are the most important tools for bringing people together at a national and international level.

Vigdisarstofnun_hus

Languages and the cultures associated with them serve as one of the cornerstones of mankind’s cultural heritage. Language is the means by which people develop both cultural unity and personal identity. Linguistic versatility and an understanding of different cultures are the most important tools for bringing people together at a national and international level.

Global cooperation between different cultural and linguistic areas has never been as important to us as it is today, especially in education, technology, trade, politics, aid and development. In a world of growing contacts in so many fields, language skills are becoming increasingly vital.

Many of the serious problems facing the international community, such as global warming, the increasing gap between rich and poor and gender inequality, can only be solved through international cooperation, which of necessity demands linguistic diversity and cultural literacy.

As academics and leading figures in the international arena have warned, not only have many of the world’s languages already disappeared but an increasing number are under threat of extinction. There are numerous reasons for this, such as economic and political developments across the globe, demographic changes, and the undeniable fact that a few select languages now have dominant international status.

Such a development poses a grave threat to linguistic diversity across the globe.

In order to counteract this development, the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages is working towards establishing a World Language Centre. The primary purpose of the Centre is to raise awareness of the importance of languages as one of mankind’s most precious cultural assets.

The World Language Centre will be an information centre for languages and culture with excellent facilities for research, language learning and dissemination. In cooperation with other institutes, international scholars and those interested in languages, such a centre would be a significant contribution towards preserving and strengthening linguistic diversity.

The World Language Centre regards it an honour to develop and continue the pioneering work that Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former president of Iceland, has carried out as the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Languages.

The Rules and Procedures for the Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding were formally agreed upon by The Centre for Research in the Humanities at the University of Iceland on November 27 2012.

UNESCO-agreement.

The Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding (pdf).