Members of the public will have the opportunity to view a language exhibition, organised through Belfast City Council's Community Centres, which will depict the word ‘welcome’ in each of the 23 languages of the European Union, as well as the languages of Northern Ireland's ethnic minorities. The language exhibition will be open to the public on Wednesday 26 September from 2-3pm.
Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, said: “The Council is delighted to act as lead agency and host the European Day of Languages event at the City Hall. This is a unique event – a cultural concert which will showcase the importance of European languages and learning in our schools - featuring schools not just from Belfast but also Londonderry.
“This concert builds on previous events and reflects the work the Council’s European Unit does to promote and raise awareness of European issues in Belfast. Alongside the European Day of Languages concert, we will also be launching Opportunity Europe that day - another Council flagship event which highlights the importance of Northern Ireland’s European and international links.”
Head of the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland, Colette FitzGerald, said: "There have never been more opportunities to work and study throughout the European Union – and language skills are key to people taking advantage of these opportunities.On European Day of Languages we can recognise and celebrate the importance of language learning in schools throughout Northern Ireland and highlight the opportunities that language learning opens up – for all age groups. The European Commission Office is delighted to be working with Belfast City Council and other partners on a number of initiatives – including our annual event 'Opportunity Europe and Beyond' – to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity and achieve greater intercultural understanding."
Director of the Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT), Eugene McKendry, said: "Music embraces everyone and all languages. NICILT is pleased and privileged to be involved in this marvellous celebration of linguistics and cultural diversity."
The celebration of language learning continues in October with 'Opportunity Europe and Beyond', an annual fair and exhibition which attracts thousands of students to St. George's Market each year.
'Opportunity Europe and Beyond' - taking place on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 October - encourages understanding and enjoyment of different cultures in Northern Ireland, the rest of Europe and beyond and brings together a vibrant programme of events including music, dance, quizzes, visual arts, food, workshops, exhibition stands and discussions. It also promotes linguistic and cultural diversity and highlights the importance of Northern Ireland's European and international links. Special activities will also be held to mark the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012.