Languages, Identities and Intercultural Dialogue

Tue, 15 Feb 2011 18:00 in Discussion Forums

Where: Radisson Blu Hotel, Frankland Lane, Durham, DH1 5TA


Intercultural dialogue, according to the Council of Europe, ‘requires the freedom and ability to express oneself, as well as the willingness and capacity to listen to the views of others’. Language, as perhaps the most important means of expression, is clearly crucial in the dialogue process but specific languages are also important as symbols of identities and are also an implicit part of how we present ourselves and see others. I will illustrate the significance of language in identity and also refer to the importance of languages and identities being recognised and valued in education systems if all young people are to have the basis for success in school and society.


Michael Byram is Professor Emeritus since October 2008. His work in the School comprised initial teacher education and being Director of Research Degrees with supervision of research students. He began his career teaching French and German at secondary school level and in adult education in an English comprehensive community school. After being appointed to a post in teacher education at the University of Durham in 1980, he carried out research into the education of linguistic minorities, foreign language education, and student residence abroad.

He supervised doctoral students in intercultural studies, language teaching and comparative education. He has published many books and articles including, most recently, Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence; Language Teachers, Politics and Cultures (with Karen Risager); From Foreign Language Education to Education for Intercultural Citizenship; and is the editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning.
He is a Programme Adviser to the Council of Europe Language Policy Division, and is currently interested in language education policy and the politics of language teaching.