150 universities in 28 countries worldwide teach Catalan
More than 6,000 students worldwide learn Catalan language and culture in 28 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania. More than 150 universities teach Catalan at different levels, 88 of which receive funding through Institut Ramon Llull (IRL), a public body in charge of promoting Catalan culture and language abroad. Indeed, in 2016 IRL designated €1,270,722 to helping to fund the teaching in these universities. These are some of the figures on the University Network of Catalan Studies Abroad, presented this Tuesday by IRL’s director, Manuel Forcano. According to him, the Network “offers a very positive image of Catalonia to the world since it promotes the Catalan language everywhere”. France, Germany and the United Kingdom are the three countries with the highest number of universities teaching Catalan.
Barcelona (CNA).- Catalan language and culture are taught in 150 universities around the world. More than 6,000 students are enrolled in these courses in 28 countries in Europe, America, Asia and Oceania. The country with the highest number of universities teaching Catalan is France, with 21, followed by Germany and the United Kingdom, both with 20 centres. Institut Ramon Llull (IRL), a public body in charge of promoting Catalan culture and language abroad plays a key role in supporting this network; in 2016 alone, 88 universities received funding from this body, totalling €1,270,722. This is some of the data of the University Network of Catalan Studies Abroad, presented this Tuesday by IRL’s director, Manuel Forcano. According to him, the Network “offers a very positive image of Catalonia to the world since it promotes the Catalan language everywhere”.
The University of Cambridge, in the UK, the Paris Sorbonne University, in France, the University of Columbia, in New York, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in Israel, are some of the 150 universities worldwide that teach Catalan. According to IRL’s director, Manuel Forcano, 19 universities currently have a specialised department of Catalan Studies. Moreover, during the 2014-2015 academic year nearly 650 courses were taught.
“Catalan is not a minority language but an average language in Europe”, explained Forcano, “it has more than 10 million speakers and holds 9th position in the European languages ranking”. “We can’t refer to it as a minority language”, he insisted.
Cultural activities “to increase the visibility”
IRL also promotes academic and cultural activities such as conferences, seminars and concerts, amongst other initiatives, in some of these universities in order to “increase the visibility and impact of Catalan studies as a focus of knowledge and research of Catalan language, literature and culture”, said Forcano.
More than 50 activities are organised every year in the university field. Some of the most important activities carried out during the 2015-2016 academic year were the 10th anniversary of Catalan studies in Belgrade, the congress of Catalan narratives organised in St Andrews, Scotland, Catalan Cinema Autumn, in Freiburg, and the international wiki-marathon initiative ‘Who is afraid of Ramon Llull?’- a project which aimed to involve as many Catalan students as possible in order to update, enhance and create articles about philosopher Ramon Llull for Wikipedia, as part of the commemoration of the 800th anniversary of Llull’s death.
Staff selection programmes
Forcano also pointed out that IRL organises staff selection programmes for the universities with which it collaborates. Since 2003, there have been more than 23 calls for staff selection. From the nearly 2,000 applications received, about 240 people have been selected to teach Catalan studies. “It is very important to take care of our teachers”, explained Forcano “that’s why we offer continuous training to them”.