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Our Story

A Coalition Founded Upon Consensus... 


In 1972, the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) began as an informal coalition of several national language teaching associations, and now has grown to over 130 members, including national, regional, and state organizations. The following excerpt from the March, 1973 edition of the Foreign Language Annals serves as the inaugural draft mission of our organization:

The National Officers of AATF, AATG, AATI, AATSEEL, AATSP, and ACTFL, mindful of the importance of foreign languages in our society and of the pressing need of close collaboration between the various language associations, hereby announce the establishment of a permanent joint committee… The Joint National Committee shall have as its main purpose the implementation of a continuing movement in favor of learning foreign languages in the United States, as well as the sponsorship of special projects to improve and enhance the teaching of these languages.

- Foreign Language Annals, Vol. 6, Number 4, March 1973, pp. 292-293

In 1981, the Committee is Established...

Articles of Association were signed in 1981 establishing “The Joint National Committee for Languages” as a nonprofit education policy association (501c3), whose sole purpose is to develop policy recommendations and raise grassroots awareness of the importance of languages to national security, economic growth and social justice to the American public.


That same year, the “Council for Languages and Other International Studies,” which today is known as the National Council for Languages and International Studies (NCLIS), was incorporated as a nonprofit trade association (501c4). As JNCL’s sister organization and “action-arm,” NCLIS engages in public advocacy and direct lobbying on behalf of the language and international education community by translating professional priorities into national policies within Congress and the Executive Branch.

JNCL-NCLIS & The Language Enterprise Today... 

Today, JNCL-NCLIS represent more than 300,000 professionals of nonprofits, companies, and research institutes, forming an all-inclusive network of all areas of the language field: exchanges, research, technology, translation, interpretation, localization, testing, and others.

Our Mission

Ensure that Americans have the opportunity to learn English and at least one other language.

Our Vision

We envision a world where the language enterprise facilitates the free movement of people, information, and ideas; builds mutual understanding and acceptance of cultural and linguistic diversity; and promotes the personal development of the individual.

Strategic Plan Goals

In December, 2020, the JNCL-NCLIS Board of Directors adopted a strategic plan with 5 goal areas to guide and drive the organization's mission:

Goal Area A: Impacting State and Federal Language Policy


Goal Area B: Educating Policymakers and Decision Makers


Goal Area C: Outreach and Strategic Partnerships


Goal Area D: Volunteer Recruitment, Leadership Development, and Advocacy Training


Goal Area E: Expanding JNCL’s Member Base

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