European day of Languages
03 October, 2013
European day of Languages
On 28 September, at the Youth and Children’s Palace on Rustaveli Avenue, EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) organized the first celebration of the European Day of Languages in Tbilisi.
The European Day of Languages was introduced in 2001 by the Council of Europe to raise awareness about cultural diversity and multilingualism in Europe. It is now celebrated all over the world.
Under the Honorary Patronage of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Maia Panjikidze, Minister of Education and
Science Tamar Sanikidze and Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Levan Kipiani, and with the kind support of the European Union Delegation, an event took place with a broad program for children aged 7 to 14 years.
The European Day of languages promotes the multilingualism throughout the world. It was sharply underlined during the opening ceremony that it is of utmost importance today to pass this message to Georgian pupils who were in abundance that the more European languages you speak the more successful you will be. It was also highlighted that the leading position is occupied by English and there is no doubt about it but the message was again clear to promote other languages too.
Ten ambassadors accredited in Georgia, namely Deputy Head of Delegation of European Union Boris Iarochevitch, newly appointed Ambassador of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mrs. Alexandra Mary Hall, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Mr. Ortwin Hennig, Ambassador of the Republic of France Renaud Salins, Ambassador of Italy Mrs. Federica Favi, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Eleftherios Proios, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania Mr. Jonas Paslauskas, Ambassador of Poland Mr. Andrzej Cieszkowski, Ambassador of Romania Mr. Dumitru Badea and Ambassador of Bulgaria Mr. Plamen Bonchev, addressed the pupils and all the people who attended the event in their own languages. As always, Ambassador of Lithuania was very eloquent in Georgian language receiving applause. Likewise, English Ambassador turned out to be a decent follower of her predecessors, as almost all the British diplomats learn Georgian before coming to our country. Romanian and Greek languages were also in the spotlight, the first being a mother tongue of 28 million people (including Moldova). Greek Ambassador Mr. Eleftherios Proios noted that there are many Greek words in use, coming from the times of great Homer.
“I feel really excited today, having seen so many ambassadors around me,” Mariam Zhghenti, 13-year-old teenager told Georgian Journal. “I was committed to learn English but after today, after hearing so many clever people being unanimous that we have to learn more and more, I will by all means learn French or German and maybe Italian too. Who knows, when will I need them?”
The palace of mirrors is always beautiful but I had not thought of it being so beautiful before. Maybe, because of the youngsters who had filled the space and because of the healthy atmosphere oriented on learning languages – the sphere that is so close to my soul. Our great writer was saying that you are as many people as many languages you speak. So, it seems that at least in this context, we are real Europeans, as Ilia Chavchavadze was teaching us so in the nineteenth century. Though, at the time the main source of education for us was Russia. Our way to Europe ran through Russia - so much for the historic controversy. What shell we do?

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