The Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning is an association of eight institutions of higher education (Brown University, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University and Yale University) established in 1986 and dedicated to the study and instruction of second languages at the post-secondary level. It organizes two major events each year: a fall workshop for language faculty from participating institutions and a national conference in the spring.

Yale University will be hosting the annual symposium in May 2023 and has chosen the theme of “Language learning in the 21st century: Skills for the real world.” The Commission on Language Learning noted in its 2017 report (America’s languages. Investing in language education for the 21st century):

While English continues to be the lingua franca for world trade and diplomacy, there is an emerging consensus among leaders in business and politics, teachers, scientists, and community members that proficiency in English is not sufficient to meet the nation’s needs in a shrinking world, nor the needs of individual citizens who interact with other people and cultures more than at any other time in human history

This conference will therefore seek to address the question of what role languages play in today’s globalized society and will present a variety of perspectives on the need for linguistic and cultural understanding. The symposium is targeted at the language teaching communities at our member institutions, but we also expect significant interest from colleagues across the country. In addition, we plan to invite undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students whose research and career goals touch on the topics covered in the panels.

The conference will begin on Friday, May 12th, with an opening keynote address by Steve Leveen, founder of America the Bilingual and author of America’s Bilingual Century. On Saturday, May 13th, the conference will feature five panels dedicated to different perspectives on language learning, including four panels representing different sectors (business, government, non-governmental organizations, and the arts) and a panel of students who will discuss the importance of language learning for their future careers. Each 45-minute panel will consist of three speakers who will be asked to give a brief, 10-minute presentation, which will then be followed by a 15-minute discussion/Q&A with the audience, facilitated by a Yale graduate student. We are aiming to have a broad representation of ideas and perspectives and look forward to a lively discussion with the audience.

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