“Each year, JNCL-NCLIS delegates and dedicated language advocates across the country come together to meet with members of Congress and promote the importance of language education and international studies.” https://www.languagepolicy.org/lad22
I was delighted to be able to attend the well organized and well attended JNCL Virtual Language Advocacy Days, LAD 2022.
For language advocates and stakeholders around the world, LAD is in many ways the highlight of the year, bringing together a wide range of educators, government officials and many others to discuss the current state of language learning and use in the United States and exploring future directions for the promotion and advocacy of languages and multilingualism.
Located in Washington, D.C., the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) is a mission-driven membership organization that represents a nationwide network of more than 300,000 professionals and specialists in education sectors, organizations at nonprofit and industry.
Our trusted language policy team empowers our members to educate Congress about the benefits of multilingualism. We are talking about language policy. https://www.languagepolicy.org/
Reflecting this broad group of stakeholders, keynote speakers included Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Carlos José Pérez Sámano, Senior Artist-in-Residence, Penn Museum, Juliana Urtubey, NBCT, National Teacher of the Year 2021, Roxana Norouzi, OneAmerica and closing speakers Rep. Price (D-NC) and Rep. Young (R-AK), co-chairs of the Languages of America Caucus.
Other events during the 3-day program included the “Languages at the Intersection” themed welcome speech, a heartfelt tribute to the late John Carlino, NYSAFLT and NECTFL Executive Director and JNCL Executive Committee Member, and the AWARDS CEREMONY. This year’s recipients included Dennis Looney (Founder James E. Alatis Award), Michele, Anciaux Aoki (J. David Edwards Power of Advocacy Award) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). (Rush D. Holt Award for Language Service to the Nation).
The opportunity for LAD participants to visit the offices of elected officials – Congressional Representatives and US Senators formed the heart of the LAD program, with meetings scheduled throughout Day 2, with specific language requests and a request for our elected representatives to join the Language Caucus, at the heart of the entire LAD program.
Although it was a packed 3 day program, the takeaways went beyond information and inspiration to keynote speeches, awards and legislative tours, and opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals and stakeholders.
Despite our multilingual past and present, relatively few American students study additional languages, often due to a lack of access and opportunity. Foreign language programs in our elementary and middle schools, as well as in our colleges and universities, have declined in recent years. Although online programs have increased, they are still not sufficient to meet the needs of many learners who cannot complete an on-site program. Affordability is another key issue, with support for low-cost community programs and funding for necessary fees and tuition.
We are truly a multilingual world and society, and while much has been accomplished and much is being done, much more needs to be done to honor our linguistic heritage and secure the future of American and world languages. Congratulations to JNCL for this wonderful and inspiring event, and a big thank you to the entire JNCL team for their tireless efforts to champion and promote the learning and use of languages in the United States.