One Voice for Languages

Posted on: 05 December 2016

Live, Love, Learn Languages: the changing face of Ireland

Three years after its launch, One Voice for Languages (OVFL) welcomed over 130 participants to Live, love, learn languages: The changing faces of Ireland, an evening devoted to celebrating languages through addresses by OVFL patron Mairead McGuinness (MEP) and representatives from education, business and the public highlighting the importance of diversity and inclusion in our society. The event took place on November 13th last  in the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, and was co-hosted by the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies.

Following a warm welcome by Professor Jürgen Barkhoff, Head of School, Mairead McGuinness spoke passionately about appreciating the importance of languages, and the need to foster the love for languages in Ireland, in particular in education, and beyond.

OVFL chairperson Dr Kristin Brogan then outlined OVFL’s mission, work done and planned, stressing that OVFL supports and lobbies for any individual and group concerned about home/heritage/modern languages in Ireland.

In the second part of the evening, five inspirational speakers talked about how languages had impacted on their lives, and what role they see languages play in a changing Ireland:

  • Penelope Eades, translator, broadcaster and Spanish Honorary Vice-Consul for the South-East;
  • Alex Harding, a transition-year student who learned to speak twelve languages, including Maltese, Afrikaans, Mandarin and Tagalog out of a wish to communicate with his classmates, and who won several language learning and translation awards;
  • Dr Déirdre Kirwan, former principal of Scoil Bhríde Cailíní, whose whole-school approach embraced more than fifty different home languages together with Irish and English in the classroom;
  • Agnieszka Matys Foley, founder of the biggest Polish complementary school in Ireland; and
  • Rory Rooney, graduate of GMIT and front of house manager at The Westbury in Dublin.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. (Nelson Mandela)

This quote came up several times that evening and resonated with the audience. The evening provided most compelling examples of languages being lived, loved and learned, for friendship, intercultural exchange and professional opportunities, thus furthering social cohesion and enriching lives.


Prof Juergen Barkhoff & OVFL patron Mairead McGuinness (MEP)

The next public OVFL meeting will be held on 14 January 2017. Email to join the OVFL mailing list.