A number of European ambassadors and diplomats serving in Qatar met at the French Cultural Centre to mark the European Day of Languages, celebrated under the aegis of the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC). The European Day of Languages is celebrated on September 26.
As part of the celebrations, classes in 12 languages were formally held in different sessions for invitees and other visitors.
Speaking on behalf of the envoys present, French ambassador Eric Chevalier said the day was significant for all Europeans as it was an opportunity for the representatives from each of the EU member countries to showcase the diversity of their cultures and traditions to others not familiar with the continent.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Croatian ambassador Tomislav Bosnjak said the day is special for the European nationalities as it shows the number of languages spoken by different linguistic groups across Europe.
Bosnjak said events like the Languages Day celebrations would help others from outside Europe to understand better the diversity of European culture, traditions and above all languages spoken by its populace.
To mark the occasion basic lessons of 12 European languages were conducted yesterday. The languages were Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish.
Besides Chevalier and Bosnjak, ambassadors Guido de Sanctis (Italy) Christophe Payot (Belgium), Ewa Polano (Sweden), Cristian Tudor (Romania), Charalambos Panayides (Cyprus), Bahia Tahzib (The Netherlands), Metin Kazak (Bulgaria), ambassador designate of Greece, Constantinos Orphanides, deputy head of the German mission Peter Ziegler, chief economic and commercial attache of Portugal embassy Alexandra Sousa Esteves were among others present.
Panayides, the longest serving European ambassador Qatar, is now the chair of ambassadors from Europe, posted in Qatar.
Some of the participants expressed the hope that there would be speakers of more languages when they meet for the celebrations next year. They were also glad about the increased awareness among the country's residents about the languages spoken in the European continent.
The EUNIC members are engaged beyond their national boundaries and operating with a degree of autonomy from their respective governments. It has a membership of 33 organisations from all 27 member states of the European Union.
The main mission of the EUNIC is to form effective tie ups and networks between the participating organisations, to improve, develop and promote cultural diversity and understanding between European societies. It is also hoped that such associations would strengthen international dialogue and co-operation with countries outside Europe.
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