The 5th ALTE International Conference is one of the largest multilingual events for the global language assessment community. ALTE Paris 2014 provides an opportunity to hear influential voices, discuss key issues and meet colleagues from around the world. The two day event builds on the success of the 4th ALTE International Conference, held in 2011, by extending the debate into new and fascinating areas. Plenary speakers reflect both the diversity and scope of the event, and the increasingly important field of language assessment.
The conference will take place in Paris, from Thursday 10 - Friday 11 April, at the Maison Internationale, part of the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. This distinctive venue provides an ideal meeting point for ALTE's increasingly international audience; Paris is also the home of CIEP (the Centre international d'études pédagogiques), co-organiser of the conference, and is always a popular destination given its accessibility, wide range of accommodation, and outstanding cultural attractions.
The theme of the conference is Language Assessment for Multilingualism: promoting linguistic diversity and intercultural communication.
ALTE is delighted to confirm the five plenary speakers for the conference - leading voices in language assessment and multilingualism. The plenary speakers will give their perspectives on the thematic strands of the conference as follows:
Martin Nuttall, ALTE Secretariat provides more background on ALTE Paris 2014:
Why is the conference theme particularly relevant?
The theme of multilingualism underpins a number of current issues of global relevance. For example, there is concern that the growing dominance of English may squeeze out less widely taught national languages, an issue at the heart of the multilingualism debate. There is also the drive to increase multilinguistic competences, embodied in initiatives such as the Barcelona Agreement – the EU goal that every EU citizen should be able to speak at least two foreign languages. Last but not least, it is ALTE's mission to promote multilingualism by encouraging language teaching, not only for economic or academic improvement, but also for personal enrichment and lifelong learning.
This is ALTE's 5th International Conference - how important an event has the Conference become?
As an established event in the conference calendar, the ALTE International Conference has become an international forum for debate and discussion, and not only for those with a core interest in the field of language assessment. Previous conference delegates have included policy makers, politicians, teachers and others, and we hope that ALTE Paris 2014 will attract an equally wide ranging mix, including those interested in issues of diversity, for example, or multiculturalism, whether in a corporate or governmental context.
What can delegates expect from ALTE Paris 2014?
Given the diverse and international nature of both delegates and speakers, delegates can expect to gain a heightened understanding of the current issues facing the language assessment community. The programme will offer an impressive range of insights and perspectives, and will also give delegates plenty of opportunity to engage in lively debate, and to share interests, concerns and best practice. Altogether, we hope ALTE Paris 2014 will be an enriching and valuable experience. View the conference programme from ALTE Krakow 2011.
As an international organisation we deliberately move our Conference venue to give as many people as possible the opportunity to attend. Paris is ideally located for an international audience, and is also cost-effective given the wide range of accommodation available. Paris is also the home of our conference co-host (and long standing ALTE member) the Centre international d'études pédagogiques (CIEP), and also to Alliance Française Paris Ile de France and Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de région Paris Ile de France (CCI Paris Ile de France), both also active ALTE members. And of course, Paris is delightful in the springtime, and we hope this will enhance everyone's enjoyment of what will be another memorable event.
A message from Dr Michael Milanovic, ALTE Manager
Ever since 1990, when ALTE was first established, we have actively debated and discussed the multitude of issues underpinning language assessment – not just through the many technical projects and training sessions we undertake, but also through initiatives designed to raise awareness of language assessment issues, and to provide leadership in the global language debate.
To celebrate the annual European Day of Languages, for example, ALTE co-hosts events within the European Parliament with EP Vice-President MEP Miguel Angel Martínez, responsible for multilingualism, MEP Hannu Takkula, Member of the Committee on Culture and Education, and Cambridge English Language Assessment. ALTE has also been an active member of the European Commission’s Civil Society Platform for Multilingualism since it was established in 2009; as part of this, ALTE was closely involved with the Poliglotti4.eu project, and the setting up of a Language Observatory to capture good practice and instigate policy research.
Since 2003, ALTE has also held INGO status with the Council of Europe, enabling collaboration on an even wider range of projects with far-reaching impacts.
Relationships such as these, together with our proactive involvement in ongoing debate and policy discussion, has made ALTE in many ways the embodiment of multilingualism - an influential voice, and a rich resource of knowledge and understanding of the many issues underpinning strategic policy direction, and implementation both in the classroom and in wider society.
The ALTE 5th International Conference will therefore be an un-missable opportunity for anyone involved or interested in multilingualism – whether teacher, academic, policy maker or involved observer – to join ALTE and debate the issues involved, and to influence where we go from here.
We look forward to seeing you in Paris.