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Internationalisation of Universities and the National Language (International symposium 4 May 2018 - Leuven)

Last Updated: 25 Aug 2018

All presentations used by the speakers can be found here.

The policy suggestions by Prof. Dr. Danny Pieters can be found here.


On Friday 4 May 2018, KU Leuven organised a symposium to investigate the internationalisation of universities. The symposium was specifically aimed at the position of the own language at the university: together with internationalisation, the use of English is on the rise. In the context of the commemoration of 50 years Leuven Vlaams, KU Leuven wanted to have a closer look at the current status of Dutch – and by implication other small national languages – in the higher education system.

Throughout the day several aspects of the internationalisation policy were commented on, with specific attention for the relation with the own language and culture in each perspective. Can we become more international by having special attention for our own identity? How do we incorporate English while reinforcing the own language? The focus was also on contributions from all over Europe and the world: how do other regions deal with the dominance of English in higher education? Inspiration could be found in presentations from Scandinavia, the Baltic region, and Central Europe. Next to that, there were eye-opening testimonials from Wales, Catalonia, Aruba, and South-Africa, that indicated the importance of a vital own language in terms of identity and social equality.