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Expert in the Spotlight in 2010: Miquel Strubell

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Featured expert / Area of focus:
Miquel Strubell works as executive secretary of Linguamón–U.O.C. Chair in Multilingualism (Barcelona). Linguamón-U.O.C. Chair is the result of a cooperation agreement between Linguamón – House of Languages and the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in 2006 in order to promote a concept of linguistic diversity that is sustainable, equitable and functional. This cooperation forms part of the multilingualism strategies of the European Union, one of the most significant actions of which is the constitution of networks of university chairs.

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Face to face with Miquel Strubell

What is your background in the field of regional and minority languages / education/ multilingualism?
I ran the Catalan government’s language promotion office and research departments from 1980-1999. For the Council of Europe and the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities I have been on missions to Croatia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Estonia. I have been co-drafting the Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights for National Minorities in 1998. For several EU projects I have been coordinator such as:

  • Euromosaic I and II reports, including over 15 language use surveys (
  • Adum: a project offering information on EU programmes relevant for the funding of minority languages promotion projects. It includes an interactive networking environment, to aid the drafting of proposals  
  • European Parliament reports : ‘’ Lesser-Used Languages in States Applying for EU” Membership (2001) and “The EU and Minority Languages”( 2002)

At the moment I am executive secretary of Linguamón - U.O.C. (Open University of Catalonia) Chair in Multilingualism, Barcelona.

What do you think is the major challenge in your field of work?
Europe really has to develop a more tolerant attitude towards national minorities and their languages. Much of monolingual Europe is still largely unaware of its high levels of stereotyping and prejudice, and indeed of its invisible dominant ideology which is counterproductive for linguistic diversity. Largely as a result of above mentioned facts, the number of speakers of ‘regional’ or ‘minority languages has declined, in some places dramatically. Language shift, in such cases, is a shameful barometer. The European Parliament should lead the EU institutions into a critical position as regards human rights, and overcome misgivings about intervening in member states’ internal policies: for speakers of minority languages are often treated as second-class citizens.

What is one of the hottest new projects / items you are working on?
I am now leading an exciting EU project, recently awarded a three-year grant under the Lifelong Learning Programme, called EUNoM (European Universities Network on Multilingualism). Partners are Linguamón-U.O.C Chair in Multilingualism ( Barcelona, Spain), Fryske Akademy / Mercator Research Centre (Ljouwert, the Netherlands), University of Primorska ( Koper, Slovenia), University of Udine ( University of Udine, Udine, Italy), Queens University Belfast( Belfast, Northern Ireland), Centre for European Research (Wales, United Kigndom), Erasmus Hogeschool Brussels (Brussels,Belgium).
This will look at multilingualism in the context of globalisation, the information society and the knowledge economy from various perspectives  ( including that of ‘regional’ or ‘minority ’languages), in five symposia Udine (14-15 June 2010), Ljouwert/Leeuwarden (15-16 November 2010), hosted by Mercator Research Centre and Fryske Akademy), Koper (20-21 June 2011), Belfast ( 14-15 November 2011), Barcelona ( 14-15 May 2012), plus a final conference in Brussels (15-16 September 2012).

Are there any important references such as articles, links etc. you would like to mention?

  • Oslo Recommendations Regarding the Linguistic Rights of National Minorities (in twenty languages)
  • Atlantis Observatory (in five languages)
  • Adum Project (in five languages)
  • Linguamón – U.O.C. Chair in Multilingualism
  • EUNoM project (website under construction): see
  • Strubell, Miquel (coord.) The European Union and Minority Languages. - Strasbourg: European Parliament; Directorate-General for Research, 2002. – Education & Culture Series, EDUC 108 EN
  • Strubell, M. (coord.) Lesser Used Languages in States Applying for EU Membership - Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. – Strasbourg : European Parliament; Directorate-General for Research, 2001. – Education & Culture Series, EDUC 106A EN – Summary.
  • Nelde, Peter, Miquel Strubell and Glyn Williams. Production and Reproduction of Minority Language Groups in the European Union. – Luxembourg: European Commission, 1996.

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Featured topic:
Our focus this month lies on multilingual language policy of the European Union, in the past, present and future.

Further reading: