Academies from across the globe are calling for countries to prioritize language education in order to effectively collaborate on worldwide social, political, and economic development as well as address ongoing issues with the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, five academies released a joint statement called Importance of Languages in Global Context: An International Call to Action, urging primarily English-speaking countries to recommit to prioritizing multilingualism because “increasing economic disparities and rising environmental threats [are causing] massive migrations and political factionalism.”
“Today, Anglophone communities in particular are not producing enough speakers of languages other than English to meet 21st-century needs, arguing that multilingualism is too difficult to achieve, or that English should be treated as a lingua franca,” the academies stated.
Authors of the statement included the British Academy, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Australian Academy of the Humanities, Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and The Royal Society of Canada.
The collaboration is the first time in history the academies have made a joint effort, according to Language Magazine which described the cohort as “an unprecedented collaboration at a time of global uncertainty.”
“Language skills foster literacy, educational attainment, and a confident mindset that views cultural difference with curiosity rather than prejudice,” the academies stated.