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Teachers, Business Owners Storm Capitol Hill to Advocate Multilingualism


WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 14, 2019 – Over 160 world language advocates –from business to education– gather in the nation’s Capitol today, February 14, to meet with members of Congress for Language Advocacy Day, an annual summit of administrators, educators, and language industry leaders organized by the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL).

World language educators PreK-20, researchers, analysts, translators, interpreters, business owners, and representatives of leading language associations from over 42 states are advocating to the Congress and Executive Branch for increased support for language programs and activities across all areas of the federal government.

In the morning, participants learned about the dozens of federal programs that affect the Language Enterprise, the role advocacy can play in advancing collective policy priorities, and, most importantly, how to be a successful advocate for world languages on Capitol Hill.

“Language Advocacy Day is a moment during which the entire Language Enterprise comes together for common goal, a shared mission,” said Dr. Bill Rivers, Executive Director of the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS). “This is our message to the over 200 meetings we have scheduled today: languages are vital to national security, economic growth and advancing our well-being in a globally interconnected world. The future is multilingual.”

The members of JNCL-NCLIS are asking Congress for specific actions on legislation and appropriations:

  • The World Language Advancement and Readiness Act (HR 1094)

  • The Bilingual Education Seal and Teaching Act

  • The Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act

  • The Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act (S. 256)

The following day is one of the largest language policy summits of its kind in Washington, and JNCL-NCLIS will host multiple speakers representing all sectors of the industry. The topic will center on ”The Future of America’s Languages,” based on the top five recommendations from America’s Languages: Investing in Languages for the 21st Century, the report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’Commission on Language Learning.

During February, the world language community will celebrate and share language success stories with the public and policy-makers to catalyze a new generation of Americans competent in other languages and cultures to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. The event can be followed live using the hashtag #LAD19 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. More information about the this and future advocacy and policy events can be found at

The Joint National Committee for Languages, a 501(c)3 organization, and the National Council for Languages and International Studies, a 501(c)4 organization, develop policy recommendations for the Language Enterprise and advocate to the federal government for implementation of those policies. Together, JNCL-NCLIS represent nearly 140 member organizations active in virtually all aspects of the Language Enterprise — PreK-20 education, research, training, assessment, translation, interpreting, localization, and more.

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