Language Commissioners from across the world to meet in the Basque Country as Wales prepares to take a leading role

An international conference, which will consider how to further promote and protect the linguistic rights of citizens across the world, will be held this week (7, 8 September) in the city of Bilbao in the Basque Country.

For the first time since the pandemic the International Association of Language Commissioners (IALC) will hold their international conference and annual general meeting and Wales will play a leading role.

As well as leading discussions on the impact of the pandemic on the work of Commissioners and Ombudsmen, specifically from the point of view of managing cases and investigations effectively and sharing good practice for communication in the linguistic field, the conference will also announce that the Welsh Language Commissioner will take over as Chair of the Association for the next few years.

This means that Wales will be the home of the next conference in two years' time which is quite an honour according to Deputy Welsh Language Commissioner, Gwenith Price,

"It is, first of all, great to see the conference returning following the inevitable break due to the pandemic. As with all aspects of our lives, Covid-19 has had a far-reaching impact on language policies and this conference will be an opportunity for us to consider the implications and how to tackle them.

"Over the years the opportunity to discuss and foster the role of Language Commissioners as well as sharing effective practices with other countries has been a core part of our work and it is vital that this work continues.

"I am extremely proud that Wales will take over the Chair following this conference. It is recognition of Wales’s status within the Association and our important role in leading many elements of the Association's work. It will be an opportunity for us to further promote the role and status of the Welsh Language Commissioner here in Wales, and beyond, and we look forward to welcoming the international representatives to our country in two years' time."

The aim of the International Association of Language Commissioners is to support and promote equality and linguistic diversity and linguistic rights throughout the world and to support language Commissioners so that they can work while adhering to the highest professional standards.

Wales will lead on strategic discussions about the challenges facing Commissioners in the areas of regulation and how to effectively tackle investigations and complaints while considering how others, such as the Basque Country, Canada, and Flanders deal with these common challenges.

A wider discussion will consider the impact of the pandemic on official and minority languages and specifically its impact on the education sector and parents' preferences for immersion education.

The Deputy Welsh Language Commissioner will also take the opportunity to meet the current Chair of the Association, Raymond Théberge, Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages, and they will both meet with the President of the Basque Country and the Minister responsible for Culture and Language Policy.

The conference will be held in Bilbao on 7 + 8 September 2022 and more information can be obtained by following this link: International Association of Language Commissioners - Conference 2022