European Day of Languages offers crash courses in a dozen tongues
September 16 2017 10:46 PM
Ambassadors and officials of various European embassies in Doha at a press conference held at the Bu
Ambassadors and officials of various European embassies in Doha at a press conference held at the Bulgarian mission. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed

People in Qatar will have the opportunity to start learning 12 European languages on September 26 at the French Institute in Qatar.

The event, organised by the European Union National Institutes for Culture (Eunic) cluster in Qatar, will mark the second edition of the European Day of Languages in the country.

It is celebrated around the world to promote the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe.

Speaking during a press conference held at the Bulgarian embassy in Doha recently, Eunic Qatar cluster president Olivier Deseez told reporters that the one-day crash courses would allow the participants to attend introductory classes on European languages of their choice free of charge, from 5pm to 9.30pm on September 26.

The languages are Bulgarian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish. Registration (mandatory) can be done online at

“The European Day of Languages is an important day for us, it symbolises the unity of European countries in all their diversity,” he said.

“We want to boost and support this initiative in favour of teaching European languages in Qatar.”

While the event is scheduled for one day, participants will be able to have access to information on all the language courses, organised throughout the year in the country.

Deseez noted that several possibilities exist today to learn European languages in Qatar such as French, German and Spanish at Qatar University; Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, German and French at Qatar Foundation; English at the British Council; Portuguese at the Translation and Interpreting Institute; and French at the French Institute in Qatar.

Last year, he noted that the initiative attracted more than 100 participants, mostly students (more than 30%) and professionals, in the first edition, and is expected to attract more people this year.

Apart from crash courses, the second edition will feature traditional food from each of the European countries, represented by their embassies in Doha, according to Bulgarian ambassador Metin Kazak.

The envoy said participants would not only learn the basics of a variety of European languages but also savour delectable cuisine from these countries.

Swedish ambassador Ewa Polano echoed the statement of Kazak, saying that the event is also an opportunity to highlight each of their countries' culture, and “giving a sort of an appetiser of what our countries can offer”.

“Also, we want to see more students from Qatar coming to our universities, which is a very good investment in the future for both of us and we see a lot of potential in this,” she said.

According to the World Economic Forum, Europe hosts nearly 400 of the 980 internationally-recognised universities in the world.

Dutch ambassador Dr Bahia G Tahzib-Lie said the event would also give European embassies in Doha the chance to further deepen their relations with Qatar and make the European Union (EU) “more visible not only for its citizens but also to the world”.

“We are busy making an action plan about big events so that the people who live in Qatar will be more familiar with the EU.”

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