On the initiative of Minister Sven Gatz, responsible for promoting multilingualism in the Brussels Region, the Brussels Government launches the 'BeTalky' project call. The call is aimed at all organizations in Brussels that realize added social value in the field of multilingualism in education, work, culture, youth, sport and welfare. The projects are aimed at all inhabitants of Brussels.
This linguistic diversity in Brussels offers many opportunities and challenges. Language is the instrument par excellence for communicating. Language promotes valuable connections and stimulates contacts. Knowledge of languages enriches people and sparks their curiosity. Inadequate multilingualism, on the other hand, creates (too) high barriers to the labor market and (social) isolation.
Minister Gatz: "Whether Brussels will become a fully-fledged multilingual community depends on the extent to which the people of Brussels will treat each other in a truly multilingual way. A multilingual society functions on the basis of combining languages so that people can function within different social networks. Moreover, multilingualism encourages greater cultural involvement and wider tolerance", said Minister Gatz.
Implementation of the orientation note
Minister Gatz' orientation note "The Promotion of Multilingualism", which received broad support in the Brussels Parliament at the end of last year, therefore aspires to a policy on multilingualism with the aim of having a positive and reinforcing impact on the social cohesion of the Brussels community.
The call for projects is the next concrete implementation of this orientation paper. At the end of September, the first Brussels Multilingualism Day took place and the Brussels Council for Multilingualism was set up.
Meeting and dialogue
Among the selection criteria, it is important that the initiatives promote meeting and dialogue between Brussels residents who speak different (home) languages, cooperation between Dutch-speaking and French-speaking organizations, the creation of partnerships and attention to vulnerable and hard to reach target groups. At least two languages must be covered, at least one of which must be Dutch, French or English.
Minister Gatz: "With this call for proposals, I would like to honor a number of projects that stimulate meeting and dialogue between the inhabitants of Brussels with the aim of strengthening social cohesion”.
After the realization of the projects, Minister Gatz, in collaboration with the Brussels Council for Multilingualism, will organize an inspiration day, a networking day or a feedback moment during which the people who participated in the subsidized projects will testify about their experiences.
President of the Brussels Council for Multilingualism Philippe Van Parijs: “Brussels is condemned to extreme linguistic diversity. But not to the extreme fragmentation that could result from it. Provided that multilingualism is resolutely promoted. And to do so effectively, there is nothing like bottom-up projects, inspired by the reality on the ground, informed by previous experience and driven by the will to experiment constantly to break up vicious circles and transform them into virtuous circles”.
On a proposal from the selection committee set up in agreement with the Brussels Council for Multilingualism, the Brussels Government will decide on the projects to be approved by 15 March 2021 at the latest. Projects will start on 1 April 2021 at the earliest.
It is a one-off subsidy of 30,000 euros per project. A total of €200,000 is provided for in the budget.
The full project proposal must be submitted by e-mail by 20 January 2021 at the latest via firstname.lastname@example.org and with the subject "BeTalky/name of proposer/name of project".
All information about the project call can be found on the website www.betalky.brussels .