Organised by the Goethe-Institut, the Italian Cultural Institute, and Alliance Française with the support of the European Union Delegation to the United Arab Emirates
Children and families in Abu Dhabi celebrated the 20th European Day of Languages on Sunday 26 September 2021 with a rich cultural programme that raised awareness of the rich linguistic diversity in Europe and the need to preserve it, as well as the importance of enhancing language skills in an increasingly globalised world.
The event, which is marked every year on September 26, was hosted at the Goethe-Institute in Abu Dhabi, and was organised jointly by the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region, the Italian Cultural Institute in Abu Dhabi, and the Alliance Française in Abu Dhabi, with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to the UAE and European Member States embassies.
Participants enjoyed several exciting activities and challenges, including getting their very own ‘language passports’ and receiving stamps from different language booths once they’ve learned a few phrases of German, French, Italian, Spanish and other European languages. The language booths also offered information about the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe, and language study options.
HE Andrea Matteo Fontana, Ambassador of the European Union to the UAE, said: “The European Day of Languages is an opportunity to raise awareness about the variety of languages within the European Union. It reflects our linguistic diversity and is a celebration of the cultural heritage of the European community. The European Union has 24 official languages, each with a long history, a proud community and a rich culture. But despite the difference in our languages we have never been more united in working together for peace and prosperity.
Also on display at the event were films and music from participating European countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Luxemburg, Czech Republik, Holland, Lithuania, Portugal and Malta.
Europe is rich in languages – there are over 200 European languages and many more are spoken by citizens whose families are from other continents.
Following the success of the Year of Languages in 2001, the Council of Europe declared a European Day of Languages to be celebrated on September 26 of each year. It aims to alert the public to the importance of language learning and diversifying the range of languages learnt, promote the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of Europe, and encourage lifelong language learning.