2015 – 22nd Annual Conference, Graz

Conference Review

It was a great opportunity for me to attend the 22nd Annual Conference of ICC, held between 28-29 of November 2015 in Graz (Austria), under the logo “Languages at Work 2020”!

The ECML as the venue of the conference offered excellent facilities in an esthetic and intellectual environment! The conference, in essence, was an interactional one! What does it mean? Every activity (and there were quite a few) have had a huge and important impact on the mind and heart of the participants.

The opening session of the conference – jointly held by the co-chairs Tony Fitzpatrick and Ellinor Haase – looked more like a friendly conversation between two people who wondered what they were looking for there but having, after a short reflection, found the right answers concerning the agenda of the conference.

The topics selected by the keynote speakers (Sarah Breslin, Bernd Rϋschoff, Josef Huber, Ian McMaster, and Michael Carrier) led to deep reflections and questions in the mind of participants and their answers were gracious but accurate. The three rounds of World Café, attended by all the 30 participants, were extremely engaging and fruitful concerning the burden of the future approaches in teaching and learning languages as well as in using the proper language in teaching/ using proper strategies in teaching/, learning and education!

The parallel workshops managed by Matilde Grϋnhage Monetti, Rob Williams, Thomas Nolan Kelly and Tony Fitzpatrick offered participants yet another opportunity to interact with the others and to exchange ideas as well as their own views, so as to provoke a transformation through learning!

Last but not least, the debate “This house believes that the only language at work in 2020 in a global context will be English” was an energetic way of putting participants into the process of simultaneously training and learning, thus giving satisfaction to them all!

What has remained clear in my mind, after this conference, is that language is “the heart of learning” and each teacher or trainer contributes with a brick to the wonderful building of the city of learning!

Prof. dr. Dorin Herlo | “Aurel Vlaicu” University of Arad | Romania

Key Note Speaker

Sarah Breslin

Sarah Breslin is Executive Director of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe. A passionate linguist with a thorough understanding of policy and practice in language education, Sarah began her career as an EFL teacher and has held various teaching and management positions in different sectors and countries (further and higher education, qualification awarding bodies and government bodies supporting schools) . Before taking up post as Director of the ECML, Sarah was Director of SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages and of the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools.

Josef Huber

Josef Huber works in the Education Directorate of the Council of Europe, where he is currently responsible for activities in the field of intercultural education and for the Pestalozzi Programme, the Council of Europe programme for the training of education professionals. Up until July 2006 he was involved in the Council’s Higher Education and Research Division and was responsible for the organisation of two Higher Education fora on higher education governance (2005) and on the responsibility of higher education for a democratic culture (2006) and was co-editor of the ensuing publications. From 1998 to 2004, as Head of Programmes and Deputy Executive Director of the European Centre for Modern Languages he was responsible for the centre’s programme of activities and research and development projects and its publications series on language learning and teaching, intercultural communication and language education policy. He was involved in language education policy development by the Austrian Ministry of Education between 1992 and 1998 and was a language teacher in schools and at universities in Austria and abroad before that.

Ian McMaster

Ian McMaster is editor-in-chief of the bi-monthly business communication magazine Business Spotlight (www.business-spotlight.de). The magazine is aimed at German speakers who need English at work. In 2007, the magazine was awarded the title of Germany’s Trade Journal of the Year for the category “Law, science, tax and business”.

Ian joined Spotlight Publishing (www.spotlight-verlag.de) in Munich in 1992. He was editorin- chief of the monthly English magazine Spotlight (www.spotlight-online.de) from 1995 to 2003 and again from 2006 to 2009. He was the founding editor of Business Spotlight in 2001 and is a former coordinator of the worldwide business English teachers’ organisation, IATEFL-BESIG (www.besig.org).

Ian is the co-author with Bob Dignen of the books Effective International Business Communication and Communication for International Business (both Collins) and of the ebook English for Business: 100 Tips for Effective Communication (Spotlight Publishing)


Prof. Dr. Bernd Rüschoff

Prof. Bernd Rüschoff studied English and Slavonic Languages at the University of Münster (Germany). He continued his studies at the University of Alberta (Canada) and at the University of London, where he obtained a PhD in Linguistics. Since then, his research focus has been in applied linguistics and second language acquisition as well as Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL). He has a long track record in international projects, both EU and Council of Europe, and is a member of the Professional Network Forum at the CoE’s European Centre for Modern Languages – ECML – in Graz.

From 1993 to 1998 he held a professorship in Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL) at the Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe, where his research focused on aspects of second language acquisition and TELL exploitation based on cognitive-constructivist approaches. Currently, Prof. Dr. Rüschoff is chair and head of the Applied Linguistics & EFL-Methodology section of the Dept. of Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisburg and Essen.

Prof. Rüschoff is the President of AILA – the International Association for Applied Linguistics and the President of GAL – the German Association for Applied Linguistics. He is a past-president of EUROCALL – the European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning.