America's Bilingual Century: A Conversation with Steve Leveen and Fabrice Jaumont

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America's Bilingual Century: How Americans Are Giving the Gift of Bilingualism to Themselves, Their Loved Ones, and Their Country

Presented by
The Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools &

The Center for the Advancement of Languages, Education, and Communities

Imagine an America where kids have even more chance for success, thanks to their experiences in dual language and community-based heritage language schools. Where businesses gain an edge globally because they can literally speak their customers’ language. Where lifelong learners can become more than tourists in other countries and finely hone their brainpower.

More than just imagining such a country, Steve Leveen has discovered that this is the America we are becoming. We are growing into our rich language heritage—one of the richest, in fact, in the world. America’s Bilingual Century is the result of 12 years of research, including hundreds of interviews that Steve had with leading language scholars as well as bilinguals of all ages and backgrounds. The book is also the result of Steve’s own journey to bilingualism. You need not be bilingual to enjoy this book. But you may well be excited about such a prospect by the time you finish it. And encouraged about America’s prospects for a stronger and healthier nation, as a country that believes in bilingualism. Because, as Steve discovers, “English is what unites us; our other languages are what define and strengthen us.”

About the Author

Steve Leveen devoted his first career to celebrating literacy, cofounding the first company in America to create products for readers (Levenger) and serving on the board of the National Book Foundation. He is now dedicating his encore career to biliteracy, championing bilingualism in America as a path to a stronger and healthier nation. A monolingual until midlife, Steve has chosen Spanish as his adopted language and is an avid learner. Steve divides his time between South Florida, where he successfully practices his Spanish, and Maine, where he is somewhat less successful in sounding like a local. America’s Bilingual Century is his third book. He holds a PhD in Sociology from Cornell University.

About the Moderator

Fabrice Jaumont is a scholar-practitioner, award-winning author, non-profit leader, and education advisor based in New York. He hosts a podcast, a blog, speaks to audiences world-wide and has published five books, including The Bilingual Revolution: The Future of Education is in Two Languages, which provides inspirational vignettes and practical advice for parents and educators who want to create a dual-language program in their own school. His upcoming book, Conversations on Bilingualism, features world-renown voices in the fields of multilingualism, language maintenance, bilingual education, and cognitive development.

About the Discussants

• Joy Peyton, Senior Fellow, Center for Applied Linguistics

• Aerin Benavides, Teacher, Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition (ISLA), Spanish; Professor, UNC Greensboro, Chapel Hill, NC
• Angela Hasheva, Founder and President, Association of Bulgarian Schools in America (ABSA); Principal, Bulgarian School of Seattle
• Tommy Lu, Advisor, Washington Metropolitan Association of Chinese Schools (WMACS)
• Agnès Ndiaye Tounkara, Coordinator, French Heritage Language Program, FACE Foundation, New York


About the Organizers

The Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools is a nationwide initiative, established in 2012, to support and advocate for community-based heritage language schools across the United States and to facilitate connections among them and with public, private, and charter schools.

The Center for the Advancement of Languages, Education, and Communities is a nonprofit organization with a focus on multilingualism, cross-cultural understanding, and the dissemination of ideas. Our mission is to empower multilingual families and linguistic communities through education, knowledge, and advocacy.

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