The ability to communicate in several languages increases an individual’s competitiveness, boosts creativity, breaks down cultural stereotypes and opens up new opportunities. This was emphasised by Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, on Thursday, 11 October, when she opened the Conference of German Language Teachers in the Baltic States.
Āboltiņa pointed out that with 90 million native speakers, German is the most widespread mother tongue in the European Union. “There is no doubt that it is still useful and necessary to learn German. Nowadays knowledge of the German language gives young people a wide range of study options in Germany, and it can also be a stable and important foundation for a future career,” Āboltiņa said.
“As a graduate of the Riga State German Gymnasium, I can attest that knowledge of the German language has often been useful in my personal and professional life. I have made use of the stable foundations in German that I gained at school, and I have seen on countless occasions how a common language can open people up and bring them closer, sometimes even making an official and stressful meeting much more open and easy,” the Speaker emphasised.
In her address to the participants of the conference, the Speaker of the Saeima said that the German language has a special foreign language status in Latvia: “We must keep in mind that the ties between Latvians and Germans date back for almost 1,000 years. The presence of German culture in our region has left its imprint on Latvian culture, traditions, our language, worldview, and our place in the historical space of Europe.”
The Speaker of the Saeima accentuated the bilateral relations between Latvia and Germany by pointing out that Germany once helped our country to achieve important strategic goals, and now we have gained a trustworthy partner on the coast of the Baltic Sea. “Germany is an important economic partner for our country. German investors were one of the first who dared to enter our market, and over the years, steady, intense and dynamic trade cooperation has been established,” said Āboltiņa.
The Speaker thanked the teachers of German for their contribution to education, their enthusiasm and personal attitude; she emphasised that being a teacher is a mission that requires a wholehearted personal investment: “You create the desire to learn, you inspire children and youths to learn a new language; thus, perhaps unbeknownst to them, you lay a stable foundation for their future.”
“I am certain that language teachers are among those who can inspire in their students the desire to reach for broader opportunities,” said Āboltiņa thus emphasising the importance of learning languages.
The Conference of German Teachers in the Baltic States takes place every two years in one of the Baltic States. The conference is taking place from 11 to 13 October at the Great Hall of the University of Latvia and is attended by representatives from Austria, Belarus, Denmark, Russia, Norway, Poland, Finland, Switzerland and Germany.
Saeima Press Service