MERIDIUM (Multilingualism in Europe as a Resource for Immigration—Dialogue Initiative among the Universities of the Mediterranean) is a three-year project (2009-2011) co-financed by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP), Key Activity 2 Languages. It aimed at documenting multilingual situations present in Southern European countries through data collected from primary school children and their parents.
Particular attention was given to the development of strategies geared to increase awareness of the institutions and society towards linguistic diversity brought about by migration, promoting its value and assessing the efficacy of measures being taken in order to foster linguistic integration. The European policies favouring practices of multiculturalism were also promoted.
The institutions which participated in this project were the University for Foreigners of Perugia (responsible for the coordination of the project), the University of Malta, the Universidade Nova of Lisbon, Transylvania University of Brasov, Babeş-Bolyai University - Cluj-Napoca, the Università del Litorale - Capodistria, and the University of Salamanca.
MERIDIUM was carried out in 57 primary schools and involved 2,067 fifth-year pupils and their parents. A recently published volume (Migration, Multilingualism and Schooling in Southern Europe) presents a “snapshot” of linguistic repertoires and language use, perceptions and attitudes within selected areas in participating countries, thereby providing preliminary indications about the extent to which multilingualism and linguistic diversity are actually present, perceived and promoted at a local level.
Other than disseminating and discussing the results of the project with educational administrators and authorities, teachers, pupils and parents, MERIDIUM researchers are carrying out collaboration activities with schools within the countries included in the network, thereby fostering critical reflection on the strategies which could possibly be adopted in order to render the educational environment more aware of and ready to accept linguistic diversity.
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