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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Post-Brexit, Studying Language and Culture Is More Urgent Than Ever

(c) University of Cambridge

Statement from the Board of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages

For centuries the University of Cambridge has cultivated a deep understanding of and respect for the diverse nations of Europe. It is home to a vibrant, engaged community of students and scholars in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages who work hard to advance the study of the languages and cultures of the entire continent.

The news of the result of the British referendum to leave the European Union only underscores the urgency and importance of our mandate. In the ‘Brexit’ debate, politicians frequently mobilised xenophobia and employed nativist rhetoric with particular reference to immigrants and migrants from the countries we study. In a recent speech, the University’s Vice Chancellor Leszek Borysiewicz rightly condemned such anti-immigration discourse on the whole as ‘an absolute failure of the imagination, of empathy, and of vision’.

Now more than ever, it is the study of language and culture that can combat stereotypes and foster the communicative skill and cross-cultural understanding needed to ensure peaceful and prosperous relations between European states. In the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, we are steadfast in our commitment to our work in the spheres of teaching and research, which is ranked the best in the United Kingdom. We are also leading the way in public engagement and outreach inviting ever-growing audiences across Great Britain to explore a broad range of topics across the Arts, Humanities and the Social Sciences.

Expanding upon this teaching, research and public engagement – and preparing a new generation of British leaders with an extensive knowledge of the languages, cultures and histories of Europe – are goals we embrace with even greater enthusiasm and resolve today. 


Faculty Board 

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages

University of Cambridge