The summit takes up October 19th – 21st.
Over 250 specialists from all over the world gathered at the Institute of Philology and Intercultural Communication for the opening ceremony. The summit includes several conferences and symposiums, among them “Jan Baudouin de Courtenay and world linguistics”, “Preservation and development of native languages in the multinational state: problems and perspectives”, “East and West: literature and artistic culture”, “Art and artistic education in the context of intercultural interaction”, “Preservation of artistic and historical environment of the modern city as a spiritual factor of culture”, and others. Also, a PRO Science event called “Crossroads of Seven Sciences” for the eve of October 19th.
The opening ceremony was attended by Vice-Rector of KFU Danis Nurgaliev, Director of the Institute Radif Zamaletdinov, Andrea Marini (University of Udine), Leysan Sahin (Marmara University), and many other distinguished professionals.
Vice-Rector Nurgaliev noted the fast-paced technological changes in linguistics and language interactions in general. He said that we cannot really imagine what will international communication be like in 15 years. However, in his opinion, learning and understanding the language of a country is still indispensable for anyone who wants to really embrace other cultures and make them his or her allies and friends.
Director Zamaletdinov talked about 2018 – Tolstoy Year in Tatarstan and KFU. The famous Russian writer studied foreign languages and law at Kazan University in 1844 – 1847. The next Language and Culture Summit is scheduled for his 190th anniversary, on September 9th, 2018. Naturally, that summit will mostly be dedicated to his enormous and multifaceted body of work.
He also said, “Problems discussed at this summit are of global scale. Many questions arise today pertaining to the preservation and development of languages and cultures. Today more than ever native languages need research and overall support. The threat of people losing their native languages and ethnic cultures becomes evident. Only with participation of scholars from different countries we can find answers on a global scale.”
Another notable guest to address the audience was Evgeny Kuzmin, Vice-Chair of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental IFAP Council and President of the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre. According to UNESCO’s forecasts, over half of the existing 7 thousand languages will have become extinct by the end of the 21st century; and there are even more ominous estimations which say about 90% of such languages. Russia, he said, is one of the most multilingual countries in the world, and its efforts in preserving language diversity are highly praised by international experts. Russia’s leadership reiterates that it’s imperative to develop languages and guarantee their equal representation. Another big problem, according to Mr. Kuzmin, is that even major world languages (Russian, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese) are being challenged by English, “Preserving Russian is as complicated as preserving Tatar today. In the last 25 years Russian language has lost 50 million speakers – there is no other language which has receded so quickly in human history. That’s why the work of promoting and studying Russian in other countries – a part of which Kazan University is as well – is so important.”
The conference “Jan Baudouin de Courtenay and world linguistics” started working after the opening ceremony.