Encouraging multilingualism and taking on the challenges of linguistic diversity are among the University’s central preoccupations. The ULB’s main campuses are in Brussels, which is both a multicultural city and the capital of two multilingual political entities: Belgium and Europe. Brussels, as a region of migration, exhibits great cultural and linguistic diversity, and over a hundred languages are spoken in this city. A recent survey of the ULB student body on their first and second languages reflects the city’s rich linguistic make up, as students mention mother tongues as diverse as German, Arabic, Chechen, Peul, Uzbek, Yoruba as well as non-specified creoles and Belgian French Sign Language. 

Thus, the ULB firmly intends to provide all its members, students and staff alike, with the tools to meet the communication challenges they may face. ULB Langues, our new transversal center which aims to confer a “language capital” to every student and coordinate language teaching across the university, is one of the clearest manifestations of this intent.  

The intent to promote multilingualism also shows through the multilingual school project, which the ULB and the VUB are carrying together, as well as via the offer of common degrees, requiring collaboration between the two universities. Indeed, the ULB and the VUB, who this year will celebrate fifty years of collaboration, work together to deconstruct linguistic barriers to cooperation. Furthermore, the ULB offers evening language classes targeted to non-academic groups, professionals and amateurs alike.   

The ULB’s openness is also manifest through CIVIS- A European Civic University, a European university born out of the collaboration of eight European universities. One of the key issues of this collaboration is maintaining multilingualism. 

« Language Year: Universality and Identities” is an opportunity to stimulate discussion around linguistic pedagogy, working in multilingual environments, as well as on the use of new technologies for translation and interpretation. 

Updated on September 17, 2019