Language lovers from Akademia forge ties in Europe
The heartbeat of a healthy university life is to engage in academic discussions with other academics. It is important to Akademia as a private higher education institution to maintain good relations and mutual cooperation in the collegiate world. One of the methods is participation in conferences and academic discussions, and that is exactly why two Akademia colleagues visited Europe at the end of July.
Dr. Annelise de Vries (lecturer at the Faculty of Education) and Karien Brits (language practitioner and part-time lecturer at the Faculty of Education) attended a conference on forensic linguistics in Portugal (Porto) from 17 to 21 July, where each delivered a presentation. De Vries’ presentation dealt with the role that forensic linguistics must play in court cases concerning hate speech. Brits spoke about the transliteration of Ukrainian names and language rights.
Both presentations were well received and Akademia, as an Afrikaans academic institution, received good exposure. At this event, good networks were also established that will now continue to be strengthened through academic publications and discussions. According to good Akademia traditions, the presentations will also be delivered internally to Akademia staff in August 2022.
While in Europe, De Vries and Brits also made use of the opportunity to visit institutions of the Low Countries and in so doing strengthening international ties. This naturally included a pit stop at Haarlem (Netherlands). This is a city that boasts a few inventors concerning the art of printing and aeroplanes, but it is also home to Ingrid Glorie, who has been working for the cause of cultural relations between South Africa and the Netherlands for decades. Earlier this year, Glorie received the Van Ewijck Foundation’s Achievement Award for her efforts. Akademia’s discussions with her also confirmed this again.
Afrikaans and Dutch as qualifications might still be a dream of the future at Akademia, but in the very same Haarlem, de Vries and Brits’ conversation with Karlijn Waterman (senior policy consultant at the Dutch Language Union) was music to the ears. She provided practical suggestions for how staff and students’ Dutch could improve through summer- and winter courses.
Akademia visited the Dutch Language Union in Brussels (Belgium) and was received by Maarten Vidal (policy secretary); the furtherance of academic articles in Dutch and Afrikaans and opportunities for collaboration was discussed.
Dr. Tina Vitackova of the Gents Centrum voor het Afrikaans en de Studie van Zuid-Afrika in Belgium led de Vries and Brits on an extended tour through the city of Gent while discussing research and research opportunities. She took Akademia’s two language lovers to the Poëziecentrum, where they could make contact with Stefaan Goossens (head of the documentation-, research-, and information centre).
Through these international visits, Akademia aims to give our Fonties exposure to the latest trends in academics and so also to ensure that the subject matter of Akademia’s qualifications remains relevant and of high quality. Therefore, the institution is thankful for all the ties forged in the international arena and we look forward to continuously strengthening these ties.