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Commission on Language Learning

In 2014, a bipartisan group of members of Congress asked the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to undertake a new study of the nation’s language education needs. Four members of the United States Senate—Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)—and four members of the House of Representatives—Rush Holt (D-New Jersey), Leonard Lance (R-New Jersey), David Price (D-North Carolina), and Don Young (R-Alaska)—signed two letters requesting that the Academy provide answers to the following questions:

How does language learning influence economic growth, cultural diplomacy, the productivity of future generations, and the fulfillment of all Americans? What actions should the nation take to ensure excellence in all languages as well as international education and research, including how we may more effectively use current resources to advance language attainment?

In response to this request, the Academy created the Commission on Language Learning. The Commission’s final report, America’s Languages: Investing in Language Learning for the 21st Century,* offers concrete recommendations to improve access to as many languages as possible, for people of every age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background.

Support for the Commission was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and resources from the Academy’s New Initiatives Fund.

*A previous version of this report provided an incorrect attribution for data about the effect of language barriers on American business. That data was published in a study sponsored by the Coalition for International Education.

Additional Resources

Members of the Commission on Language Learning

Chair

  • Paul LeClerc
    Columbia Global Center in Paris,
    Columbia University

Members

  • Martha Abbott
    American Council on the Teaching of
    Foreign Languages
  • Mark Aronoff
    Stony Brook University
  • jessie “little doe” baird
    Wôpanâak Language Reclamation Project
  • David S. C. Chu
    Institute for Defense Analyses
  • Dan E. Davidson
    American Councils for International Education; Bryn Mawr College
  • Nicholas Dirks
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Brian T. Edwards
    Northwestern University
  • Karl W. Eikenberry
    Stanford University; United States Army, ret.
  • Rosemary G. Feal
    Modern Language Association
  • Carol Gluck
    Columbia University
  • Nancy McEldowney
    Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State
  • Philip Rubin
    Haskins Laboratories; formerly, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Rubén G. Rumbaut
    University of California, Irvine
  • Marta Tienda
    Princeton University
  • Ken Wallach
    Central National Gottesman Inc.
  • Diane Wood
    U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • Pauline Yu
    American Council of Learned Societies

Related Publications

Published from   thru      Type:    
 Title and SynopsisTo Order
America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2017
Buy from the Academy

Free Download:
   PDF document
The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2016
Buy from the Academy

Free Download:
   PDF document

Project Chair

Paul LeClerc, Columbia Global Center in Paris, Columbia University

New Publications

America’s Languages: Investing in Language Education for the 21st Century

Read more and download this publication.


The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait

Read more and download this publication.
Download all the figures from the report as a PowerPoint presentation or download individual figures as JPG or PDF.

In the News

7/16/17
The News & Observer
6/23/17
Inside Higher Ed
2/28/17
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12/15/16
Inside Higher Ed
11/2/16
Inside Higher Ed

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