WMU News

Foreign language students mark 'Year of Languages'

April 5, 2005

KALAMAZOO--The Department of Foreign Languages at Western Michigan University will celebrate 2005 being proclaimed The Year of Languages at its annual Honors and Awards Day ceremony Friday, April 8. The event is by invitation only and is not open to the public.

The U.S. House of Representatives declared 2005 "The Year of Languages" on March 8. The legislation was sponsored by U.S. Reps. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and Patrick J. Tiberi (R-Ohio). Holt has been active in sponsoring bills that promote foreign language education funding, both at the K-12 and university levels.

The proclamation is supported by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the main foreign language teaching organization in the United States, because it "recognizes the critical role that language learning plays in enhancing America's national security and our future role in the global community."

Friday's event at WMU will include brief presentations by selected students from the department's eight language areas. Students will speak in the language they are studying, followed by a translation into English.

"The proclamation in the U.S. House gives us a chance to remind people of the importance of language learning for Americans--as a way of being an integrated part of the world culturally and economically," says Dr. Cynthia Running-Johnson, chairperson of the WMU Department of Foreign Languages.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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