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FOHLC Europe

Forum of Heritage Language Coalitions in Europe

FOHLC Europe is an exciting new collaboration between several organizations involved with heritage language education in Europe. We are initiating an annual conference that we hope will become a new tradition of creating connections. It will be a chance for all involved in this area to come together once per year to share expertise and to discuss the needs of our organizations.

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2021 Conference

Our online conference will take place on November 19 and 20, 2021, and will have the theme: 

Future-proofing Heritage Language Education.

Topics will include online learning, succession planning, and other ideas for HL program sustainability. Let's gain a fresh perspective on the future of HL education in Europe!

This year attendance of the conference will be free of charge!


FOHLC Europe 2021 is organized by Móðurmál, Heritage Language Education Network (formerly Heritage Language Schools Eindhoven), and Multilingual Café. Meet our team. Email our team.


The purpose of FOHLC Europe is to bring together once per year umbrella organizations, associations, coalitions, and networks of heritage language (HL) programs, as well as the leaders, managers, and teachers of HL programs in Europe. For example, umbrella organizations and coalitions can bring together HL programs based on shared geographic location (e.g., all HL programs in Iceland) or they can bring together HL programs based on language (e.g. a coalition of Czech HL programs across Europe).  

FOHLC Europe offers professional development to HL teachers and managers and we offer networking opportunities to professionals in the field of HL education. While not an academic conference, we invite scholars to bridge academics with our audience. 

The goal of organizing an annual conference is provide a platform for exchange ideas about how to: 

  • promote HL education in Europe 

  • promote interest of HL associations (language-based or location-based) in Europe 

  • improve the quality and professionalism of HL education in Europe 

  • map the situation of HL schools in Europe 

  • create connections between HL associations in Europe 

  • support / take part in research in HL education 


  • HL teachers 

  • HL program coordinators 

  • HL program volunteers 

  • Leaders of HL umbrella organizations, associations, and coalitions 

  • Parents of HL learners interested in the topic of HL education 

  • Academics involved in HL education research 

  • Policy makers and government authorities interested in the topic of HL education 




Organizing Team

Who We Are


Renata Emilsson Pesková

Renata is a PhD Candidate at the School of Education, Faculty of Education and Pedagogy, University of Iceland. She comes from the Czech Republic, and has a B.A. degree in Andragogy and Personal Management at Charles University in Prague and an M.A degree from Universität Bayreuth with major in Intercultural Communication / German as a Foreign Language. After teaching English and German at a compulsory school in Reykjavík for seven years, she enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Iceland. The dissertation School experience of plurilingual students: Multiple case study from Iceland explores the interplay of linguistic repertoires and school experience of five students on an elementary school level, who attend heritage language classes in a non-formal setting. Renata’s research interests include plurilingualism and multilingualism, linguistically responsive and plurilingual pedagogies, language policies, heritage learning in informal, non-formal and formal settings, and linguistic identities. Her research is complemented by her roles as a co-founder and board member of the Czech School in Iceland and a board member of Móðurmál – the Association on Bilingualism.

Agnieszka Pędrak

Independent researcher
Trinity College Dublin

Agnieszka is an independent researcher currently studying for her PhD degree in Applied Linguistics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Agnieszka has a keen interest in heritage language education and childhood bilingualism in the context of migration. She has several years of experience in teaching Polish language and culture in supplementary schools across Ireland and co-organizing various events for local multilingual/migrant communities, such as: conferences for HL teachers, talks for parents and teachers of bilingual children, festival events promoting bi-/multilingualism and many educational projects aiming at enhancing children's bilingual skills and their motivation to embrace their heritage languages.

Gisi Cannizzaro

Gisi Cannizzaro is from New Orleans, Louisiana, in the U.S. and speaks English as her mother tongue. She holds a Bachelor's degree in German Studies from Loyola University (2004, New Orleans), an Erasmus Mundus European Master's degree in Theoretical Clinical Linguistics (2007, Groningen, Joensuu, and Potsdam), and a Ph.D. degree in Child Language Acquisition (2012, Groningen). She worked for six years in Eindhoven as an educational consultant helping multilingual, internationally mobile families with children. In 2018 she initiated two projects: one to organize Italian lessons for Italian-speaking children and one to organize a network of heritage language programs in Eindhoven: Heritage Language Education Network (formerly Heritage Language Schools Eindhoven). As a part of these projects, she has helped add 500 Italian children’s books to the Eindhoven Library. Together with her Italian husband, Gisi is raising trilingual children (English, Italian, and Dutch).

Isabelle Barth

Isabelle Barth is French, and she works as language consultant. At the age of 18, Isabelle Barth won the European Secondary School competition after writing an essay on twinning between cities and the importance of languages. She then spent 10 days in Germany with other young European representing their own country, an unforgettable experience where everything started for her! She then studied languages at the university, to teach them but also to give the possibility to people to understand each other. She wrote her first doctorate on "Communications, Arts & Spectacles" in English-speaking Canadian Drama with a specialization on Narratology. In addition, she earned a Professional Master in Translation. She lectures in universities in France, Canada, Ireland and the Open University online. Life took her to Ireland where created a L'atelier de français - FLAM (French as mother tongue), a small school for French-speaking children. She went on to earn a Professional Master in Languages, specialized in policies, language markets, language politics, teachers' training, and plurilingual education. She is now doing research for a second doctorate exploring the impact of the environment on the family language policies and practices. She is the founder of Multilingual Café (2010) and La Maison du Multilinguisme (2012) – where she can advise families on their language journey, as well as train professionals on plurilingual education and research. She is a partner in the European Erasmus+ project Planting Languages. Since 2021, she is member of the Board of the International FLAM Schools Federation.  

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The full story behind FOHLC Europe

Móðurmál - the Association on Bilingualism is a non-profit umbrella organization that support heritage language teaching in Iceland. Móðurmál organized annual conferences for its member schools since 2013. The aim of the annual conference was to provide professional development to HL teachers from member schools, offer a venue for networking, and to provide answers to the schools´ needs. Foreign lecturers discussed topics such as: strategies to stimulate language development in classes with students with mixed skill levels and other ways to improve instruction, comparisons of mother tongue instruction in Sweden and Canada, drama methods in teaching, development of HL curricula, how to include sustainable development goals into HL programs, and online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The annual conferences of Móðurmál presented research, projects carried out by HL groups, HL teachers´ practical experience, as well as practical workshops for improving HL teaching. Gradually, lecturers from Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, and Canada visited Iceland, i.e., Olenka Bilash, Deirdre Kirwan, Barbara Day, Ann Reath Warren, and in 2020, lectures from Australia and from Ireland gave talks. These international meetings and online access to the 2020 conference of Community Based Heritage Language Schools in the United States as well as other professional development for HL teachers organized around the globe brought together coordinators and leader who had until then worked separately in their local contexts.


In 2020, Mother Tongues in Dublin and Móðurmál in Reykjavík jointly organized an annual conference (2020 Heritage Language Education Conference) that was targeted to their respective member HL schools, as well as to guests from other countries. This collaboration was successful, with about 70 participants, and the feedback from participants was positive. Attending a conference with participants from multiple countries and the exchange of international experiences proved to be more satisfactory than attending a local conference. Out of this collaboration, the idea was born to continue co-organizing the annual HL conference in Europe and to establish a collaboration of associations, coalitions, and umbrella organizations of HL languages in Europe.  The groups agreed to convene annually via the new “Forum of Heritage Language Coalitions Europe” (FOHLC Europe).” 

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