The Bilingual Revolution in Multilingual Geneva

While I was in Switzerland for the Symposium on Philanthropy in Education, I was honored to meet Sami Kanaan, Geneva City Commissioner for Culture and Sports and discuss multilingual education with him.  I was able to understand more about the city of Geneva where all children grow up multilingual.

One of the great advantages of living in Switzerland is being exposed to multiple languages. The four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian and Romansh. All but Romansh maintain equal status as official languages at the national level within the Federal Administration of the Swiss Confederation. But there are also numerous linguistic communities in urban centers like Geneva that strive to sustain their linguistic and cultural heritage. I met several parents from the Lebanese, Chinese, and Portuguese-speaking communities for whom being multilingual meant speaking the local languages as well as preserving their own. In my opinion, it is in that sense that my book, The Bilingual Revolution, can play a role in Geneva.

Following this discussion, I visited the legendary Galerie Papiers-Gras bookstore in Geneva’s old town and was thrilled to share my book, The Bilingual Revolution, with new friends, including Roland Margueron, the bookstore owner, Georges Schwizgebel, an award-winning animation director, and many more! The galerie was hosting an exhibit on Zurich-based artist Anna Sommer as part of the Les Créatives Festival.

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