As a member state of the European Union, Cyprus is a member of the large community of 28 countries, more than 500 million of citizens and 24 official languages. Most importantly, Cyprus has become a member of the community that has set the goal to become the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world.
The E.U. recognizes language learning as a lifelong activity and language teaching as a very important tool towards fulfilling the socio-economic aims of the Community. The high priority that the E.U. gives to language teaching has been made very clear in many official documents, such as Promoting Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity (European Commission, 2002, p. 3) which states:
“The ability to understand and communicate in other languages is now one of the basic skills that citizens need if they are to participate fully in European society. [….] The Union needs a mobile workforce. The worker with language skills enjoys a wider choice of job or training opportunities than a monolingual colleague and is better able to take advantage of his freedom to work or study in another Member State”
The European Union has identified the importance of plurilingualism towards achieving the goals of the Lisbon Strategy and has set trilingualism as a minimum requirement for the European citizens (Barcelona European Council, March 2002). That means that the acquisition of the mother tongue plus English is not enough. Educational institutions of all levels of education are asked to upgrade their programs as to support this effort.
The Centre of Languages of the University of Nicosia contributes to this strategy offering courses of different levels in English, German, French, Italian, Greek and Russian.
Following innovative approaches, our language courses integrate also a strong component on cultural aspects. The Centre organizes also cultural events and conferences, often in cooperation with external organizations. The University of Nicosia, as an institution with many international students, has always given emphasis to intercultural dialogue. The Centre of Languages will support and further develop this in cooperation with other centres, departments and chairs of the university as well as external institutions.
We use books and methods that are up-to-date (multi-media language courses) and a part of the courses takes place in a modern language lab. The Centre cooperates with several external associations, institutions and professional organizations (Fulbright, Societa Dante Alighieri, Goethe-Institut etc.)