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Annual Learning Through Languages Symposium Kicks Off North Carolina Day of Multilingualism

December 11, 2017
UNC Global

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University will host the third annual Learning Through Languages Research Symposium at the FedEx Global Education Center at UNC on Dec. 13 from 10:45 to 2:30. The symposium will be the marquee event for the North Carolina Consular Corps’ inaugural statewide Day of Multilingualism, a celebration focusing on the value of lifelong language learning.

North Carolina high school students studying Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian or Spanish, as well as heritage speakers, are eligible to participate in the symposium, where they will present preliminary research in their language of study.

Participants from 17 schools and 11 counties are competing in four regional tracks and have been studying contemporary topics related to Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa. A panel of UNC and Duke faculty, staff and graduate students will judge the final projects, which consist of a short written paper, an oral presentation and a visual element, such as a poster, model or slideshow.

The event is being organized by five area studies centers, including the Carolina Asia Center, UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies, Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, UNC Center for European Studies and the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

“The Area Studies Centers provide world language resources for our students,” said Ron Strauss, executive vice provost and chief international officer. “UNC strives to provide multilingual education opportunities to students as well as to the wider community. We are thrilled that this event can deepen high school students’ language skills and introduce them to the UNC campus.”

The North Carolina Consular Corps joins the symposium this year by highlighting it as part of the Day of Multilingualism. The Corps is responsible for representing foreign countries when forging relationships with state and local governments and key institutions in order to promote multilateral relations, and Corps chair and Honorary Consul General of Japan David Robinson is coordinating the state-wide Day of Multilingualism.

“Interacting with foreign persons and cultures in any context is a learning experience, but true inter-cultural understanding comes through the study of a person’s language. We celebrate the many benefits that accrue to our state through the study of languages,” Robinson said.  “I am proud to partner with UNC in observing our state’s first Day of Multilingualism, and I hope our initiatives encourage North Carolina high school students and students across the United States to become lifelong language learners.”

More information can be found on the Area Studies Learning Through Languages Research Symposium website.

Aspects of the event are open to the media, but arrangements must be made in advance. The award ceremony will take place from 2 to 2:30 p.m. and is open to family of the high school students.

UNC Global Media Contact: Katie Bowler Young, director of global relations, 919.962.4504,

North Carolina Consular Corps Media Contact: David Robinson, Honorary Consul General of Japan,

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