Representatives from all 45 countries taking part in the European Year of Languages 2001 meet in Manchester this week to finalise areas of collaboration before the campaign begins.
The meeting is organised by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, joint promoters of the initiative, with the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, which acts as co-ordinator in the United Kingdom.
It provides an opportunity to create a truly international project that includes new partners in Eastern Europe.
The aims of the year are to encourage people of all ages to learn another language and to celebrate initiatives that already exist. There will be a wide range of activities. The draft UK programme, to be unveiled at the Manchester meeting, will include competitions, festivals, exhibitions, taster sessions and a Languaes Challenge in which everyone, including some celebrity figures, will be invited to take part.
The Year will be launched on January 3 at the North of England Education Conference. Many performance-related events are planned for European Language Learners' Week, May 5-11, and for the European Day of Languages, which is on September 26.
Some activities and projects will be funded by the European Commission. The first funding round has already taken place and projects selected to take part will be announced at the end of December.
Projects that take place during the second half of the year have until February 15 to bid.
More than 200 UK organisations have agreed to take part in the year and are using its logo on their literature.
European Year of Languages, tel: 020 7379 5101 ext 229. Web:www.cilt.org.ukeyl2001