Interview with Dr. Fatima Sadiqi

I think that the EU has achieved something I could never have dreamt of when I was a student: gathering countries so historically entrenched in nationalism and national borders and with different cultures.

Fatima Sadiqi

Dr. Fatima Sadiqi is Professor of Linguistics and Gender Studies. She has been affiliated to Harvard University since 2006. She has written extensively on Moroccan languages and Moroccan women’s issues. She is Editor-in-Chief of Languages and Linguistics and serves on the editorial board of the Gender and Language Journal. She has held Fulbright Visiting Scholars at four US universities and founded the first graduate unit “Gender Studies” in Morocco. She founded the Centre for Studies and Research on Women at the University of Fes and is currently President and Founder of the ISIS Centre for Women and Development. She has initiated many international projects on gender/women studies and served on a wide variety of national and international committees. She organized nine international conferences on languages and gender issues.

In March 2006, Fatima Sadiqi was nominated by King Mohamed VI to the eleven Member Board of the Royal Institute for Amazigh Culture (IRCAM). In September 2006, she was nominated by UN Secretary-General as one of the eight women members of the Committee for Development Policy. In September 2007, she was nominated Director of the Pôle Amazigh, BMCE Foundation. In September 2007, Fatima Sadiqi was nominated Director General of the Foundation Esprit de Fes.

  1. Yacine Chemssi: Sadiqi, we know that you are a linguist and multilingual professor. Could you please tell us about the importance of this linguistic diversity and what it adds to the field of research and communication in general? And about the importance of learning/teaching and mastering languages in today’s world?

Dr. Fatima Sadiqi: It adds a broader look on things. It is a democratization tool. It leads to social mobility. It is linked to multiculturalism around which debate is ranging in Europe.

  1. As a professor with three working languages, could you please tell us how students as well as researchers perceive this linguistic diversity and how they deal with it?

Very positively. I usually tell my students that multilingualism is a social promoter.

  1. According to you, what role does linguistic diversity and multiculturalism have in promoting peace and communication within Europe and in the world? And how do you think this multiculturalism/multilingualism could benefit the European identity?

They allow more understanding of the other, facilitate communication and alleviate linguistic ghettoism.

  1. The European Parliament makes great efforts to promote multilingualism. To what extent do you consider the EU linguistic policy beneficial, to both states and individuals?

I think that the EU has achieved something I could never have dreamt of when I was a student: gathering countries so historically entrenched in nationalism and national borders and with different cultures.

  1. Do you think that the dominance of English as a lingua franca in communication, commerce and research consists a threat to other languages both at the European and world level?

In a sense it is good but on the other hand it is high time other languages are there too.

  1. Among the strategies through which the European Parliament promotes multilingualism we find terminology and translation. What could you tell us about the importance of these fields? Especially in relation to gender and women issues, one of your main research areas?

Terminology and translation are important especially in facilitating understanding of issues of less represented categories in society like women. They will make these issues more visible. The two will democratize the media landscape.

YacineAbout the interviewer. Yacine CHEMSSI is a freelance translator and researcher. He studied English Literature and Translation in Morocco and did a Master of Business Administration at the University of Wales in the UK. Now he is a postgraduate student at the University of Luxembourg. His research focuses mainly on cultural studies, identity, migration, multilingualism and digital technologies.