WA Languages Week returned as part of the Languages in the Mainstream Project (LITM) between the MLTAWA and the Office of Multicultural Interests. Officially opened by Hon. Paul Papalia, Minister for Tourism; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; Defence Issues; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, the Opening brought the many sponsors and supporters, steering committee members togteher to thank them for their hard work throughout the project.
Coleen Sherratt Senior Consultant of Aboriginal Languages at Statewide Services gave the official Welcome to Country in Noongar, providing insight into traditional culture and importance of family and knowledge/ education to Noongar people.
MLTAWA President, Kate Reitzenstein, spoke about the need to reinstate state-wide recognition of Languages Week in 2017, after a 15 year hiatus:
“We need a Languages Week because there are still many Western Australian children attending school without access to second language learning, despite it being one of the eight learning areas acknowledged in the Melbourne Declaration. We need a Languages Week because in 2018, policy will ensure the mandating of language learning in Year 3 and awareness raising and promotion needs to accompany its implementation. We need a Languages Week because there is still complacency among our society that speaking English is enough to get by in this world. A lot of decision making is made with this monolingual mind-set but we know that multilingualism is the norm throughout the world.”
Guest speaker Mr Tony Krsticevic, Shadow Minister for Local Government; Heritage; Culture and the Arts; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests reflected on his own cultural and linguistic background and encouraged the MLTAWA to continue with the efforts to promote language learning.
Guests at the Opening were treated to the beautiful singing of Noongar songs “Wanjoo” and “Boorda” by Gina Williams, accompanied by good friend and collaborator Guy Ghouse.
The MLTAWA thanks the LITM Working Party consisting of, Kelly Barron, Francesca Cardoni, Simona Carniello, Nadia Civa, Tracey Herridge, Helen Kuehs, Jia Liao, Li Liu and Aileen Murray who have coordinated the four Language Week competitions. Special thanks to Simona Carniello for being Master of Ceremony of the Opening Celebration.