The Queen’s speech today outlined Boris Johnson’s agenda for the new session of parliament.
In a key element of the speech, the Queen says her government will “work to promote and expand the United Kingdom’s influence in the world”, starting with a review into security, defence and foreign policy “covering all aspects of international policy from defence to diplomacy and development”.
CIOL responds to this by strongly urging the government to put languages and education at the forefront of any such review.
In our multilingual world, the demands of business, trade and human communication are more critically important than ever before. We depend on our armed forces, diplomats, police and security personnel to defend and protect us against international crime and terrorism.
There is therefore an urgent need for foreign language learning which has its foundations in our schools and universities.
In the UK our communities are enriched by different languages and a diversity of cultures through which we can promote understanding and tolerance in pursuit of a more peaceful world.
Seeing the world through a different language lens and experiencing it through an alternative set of values and beliefs is one of the great joys for those who choose to learn a language. It helps to open minds as well as doors and encourages cultural exchange and transparency.
CIOL therefore makes a strong plea to the government to put languages and education at the heart of its review into security, defence and foreign policy. To do this, the government must ensure everything possible is done to persuade young people to recognise that learning languages can lead to valuable careers and that the resources are available to prepare them for work in these important areas.
CIOL (the Chartered Institute of Linguists) is the leading membership body for language professionals, with a growing membership of around 7,000 and a portfolio of nationally and internationally recognised qualifications.
CIOL's vision is a world which values every language, every culture, every linguist.
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