february, 2023

28feb17:0018:30Refugees from the Middle East and their languages in Iceland: experiences, challenges, and prospects17:00 - 18:30 Auðarsalur (VHV 023)Event Type :Event

Event Details

What are the experiences of refugees in Iceland when it comes to language? How do individual families, organisations and institutions support refugees’ languages? What are the gaps and main issues? What are the existing experiences and practices (beyond Iceland) we can learn from and what can be done better?

On the 28th of February, in connection with the International Mother Language Day (21 Feb.), the Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding is organising a public seminar to discuss the experiences of refugees with regard to their native languages and to the linguistic landscape in Iceland. Despite the general recognition that the freedom to express ourselves through our own language is a fundamental individual right, when it comes to practice, especially in countries like Iceland with recent and limited experience in receiving refugees from Middle Eastern countries, there are numerous challenges ranging from access to translation services in public institutions to maintaining home languages for the children.

Invited speakers are Erna Huld Ibrahimsdóttir and Qusay Odeh, who both have long-term experiences and professional careers in translating for communities and individuals. Together with Þórir Jónsson Hraundal, assistant professor and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies programme at the University of Iceland, they will engage in discussing the main challenges as well as successful practices affirming the linguistic rights of refugee individuals in Iceland.

Moderator: Sofiya Zahova, director of the the Vigdís International Centre for Multilingualism and Intercultural Understanding.

With this seminar, the Vigdís International Centre would like to open a platform for hearing the voices and experiences of refugees in Iceland with regard to languages and language rights.



(Tuesday) 17:00 - 18:30


Auðarsalur (VHV 023)