A new umbrella organisation for language teachers associations was launched officially in Sèvres, France on 7-8 November 2011. The objective of the network is to become the voice of language teachers in Europe, providing them with a forum for exchange and debate, training opportunities and political representation at European and national level.
The REAL network builds on two previous projects co-financed by the European Commission. The first project began with a feasibility study in which language teachers associations across the EU were mapped. When those who took part were asked if they supported the idea of a network 138 associations representing over 150,000 language teachers confirmed their interest.
In 2009 a second project was therefore launched to take the work one step further. Its aim was to create "a vibrant and dynamic umbrella organisation under which many kinds of associations – large, small, monolingual, multilingual, representing not only the “big” languages of Europe, but also the rich variety of languages to be found within our borders – can meet and find ways to motivate learners, inspire teachers, improve professional development opportunities and make a real contribution to a more plurilingual Europe".
The second project successfully led to the birth of the Europe-wide umbrella organisation for language teachers, whose launch was celebrated at the Sèvres conference.