The 2023 symposium, the full title of which was “The social role of higher education: Developing the civil society’s awareness and impacting policies on the role of multilingualism in education”, was hosted by the University of Strasbourg, in hybrid mode from 22 to 24 March April 2023. Distinguished speakers from Europe, an countries, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the USA. presented their views on these issues and discussed them with scholars of the ECSPM-CURUM and the audience.

The highlights of the event were:

  • The inspiring speech by Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, the country presiding over the Council of Europe (CoE) in March 2023
  • The enlightening talk by Villano Qiriazi, Head of the Education Department of the CoE
  • The welcoming talks by Michel Deneken, President of the University of Strasbourg and Irini Tsamadou-Jacoberger, Vice-President of the same university’s International Relations Office
  • The contribution by Anne Lequy, member of the Board of the European University Association (EUA) and the decisions of the ECSPM Assembly: to respond to the call for Working Groups by the Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment (CoARA) with a view to making multilingualism a more pronounced issue in research criteria for university assessment and to adopt the “ECSPM Declaration for Multilingualism in Higher Education” referring explicitly also to the CoE’s Recommendation CM/Rec (2022) on “The importance of plurilingual and intercultural education for democratic culture”

For a review of the symposium, click here.

The symposium programme is available in the Symposium Pamphlet at the bottom of this page. It also contains information about the speakers and abstracts of their presentations.

Where available, presentation summaries and PPTs can be accessed below (click on title of talk).


Higher Education and Democracy
Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland
Icelandic Presidency of the Council of Europe

The academic profile of the ECSPM
by Bessie Dendrinos, ECSPM president

Introduction to the theme of the symposium
by Bessie Dendrinos, ECSPM President

Is enhanced creativity a valid argument for advocating multilingualism in HE?
by François Grin, keynote speaker. Piet Van Avermaet was discussant

EUA and multilingualism: “Universities without walls” (a vision for 2030)
by Anne Lequy, honorary speaker. Theodoros Marinis was discussant.

Of ethics and multilingualism in internationalising university life: A dialogue
by Luke Holmes and Caroline Kerfoot, invited speakers. Maria Zerva was discussant

Academic literacies and (inter)disciplinary assemblages: Thinking through languaging in HE
by Laura Gurney, international speaker. Linda Fisher as discussant

Learn in language, through language, and about language
by Mark E. King, international speaker & Paul J. Thibault, invited speaker. Nicolina Montesano Montessori was discussant.

Plurilingual citizens in multilingual societies: research domains and challenges
by Isabelle Léglise, keynote speaker. Nikolay Slavkov was discussant

Linguistic diversity and inequality at Dutch universities and the consequences for society
by Jos Swanenberg, invited speaker. Massimiliano Spotti was discussant

Towards a global and plurilingual strategy of curriculum internationalisation
by Chloé Faucompré & Peggy Candas, host university speakers. Andrea Young as discussant


HE for social inclusion and linguistic justice
Multilingualism, linguistic diversity and English in India: implications for education by Ianthi Tsimpli
– The position of the European University Association on multilingualism by Anne Lequy
Impact of the Mobility and Inclusion in Multilingual Europe project by Francois Grin
Chair: Bessie Dendrinos

The role of universities in bridging research on multilingualism and society by Panel Chair: Antonella Sorace
The Impact of Remote Learning on Immigrant Children by Carmit Altman
The Role of Universities in Bridging Research on Multilingualism by Monica Barni
PennState Center for Language Science by Frances Blanchette
Multilingualism in Norwegian universities: research, realities, and role models by Nicole Busby
Coordinator: Tanja Rinker.


Roundtable: 2023 symposium conclusions and future steps
Chair: Irini Tsamadou-Jacoberger.
Synthesis of questions, claims, and suggestions made during the symposium by Waldemar Martyniuk,
The ECSPM Declaration for Multilingualism in Higher Education, by Thomas Tinnefeld
–  Implications of speakers’ proposals for HE given its responsibility to make space for multilingualism by Andrea Young
CoE Recommendation on the importance of plurilingual and intercultural education for democratic culture by Terry Lamb
Coordinator: Guðrún Gísladóttir.