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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 

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Conference Program


Friday, November 19, 2021

  • Introduction of FOHLC Europe

  • Two keynote speakers addressing the conference theme

Saturday, November 20, 2021

  • Professional development workshops for heritage language teachers and program managers 

  • Networking opportunities for leaders of heritage language teachers, program managers, and leaders of coalitions 

  • Panel discussion addressing the theme of the conference

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The full conference schedule will be available on the Eventbrite page, where it is possible to register.


Keynote speakers

Friday, November 19, 2021


Dr. Anthony Thorpe:

Sustainability and succession planning in HL schools

Senior Lecturer - Leadership and Management,

University of Roehampton, London, UK

Dr Anthony Thorpe is a senior lecturer (leadership and management) in the School of Education at the University of Roehampton in London, UK. He previously worked in schools and further education colleges. His research interests include educational leadership and management, organizational theory, human resource management, leadership development and their links to social justice. His work also explores the use of critical realism in educational leadership and management.

Anthony co-edited a special issue of the journal of Management in Education published in autumn 2020. The issue explored different aspects of leadership and management in heritage language schools (also known as complementary or supplementary schools in the UK), which have been received little attention to date in academic journals.

In 2019, he was a keynote presenter at the Supplementary Schools Conference for Practitioners organized by the City of Bradford Council, UK, with a presentation entitled "Leading complementary schools: trials, tribulations and rewards." He is lead author of an article about leadership succession as an aspect of organizational sustainability in complementary schools in England in the Australian journal of Leading & Managing.

Lia Tedesco:
School of Languages in Australia

Principal of the School of Languages in South Australia

Lia Tedesco began her professional career as a teacher of Italian at secondary level, and has been Principal of the School of Languages (S.A.) since 2000.

The School of Languages is a unique government school, which provides access, choice and continuity in language learning to students from all three sectors of education. The school currently teaches 24 languages to over 2100 students.

Lia has a long history of involvement and leadership in curriculum development, professional development and policy development, at both state and national levels across Australia; including writing the:

·       National Curriculum for Italian at secondary level (1989)

·       National Statement and Profile for Languages (1992)

·       State Languages Policy (1995)

·       National Review of Languages Education (2003)

·       National Statement and Plan for Languages Education 2005 – 2009

·       South Australian Education Department Languages Strategy 2018 – 2021.

She has also served as Executive Officer of the National Ministerial Council of Education Working Party for Languages; and as President of the Australian Federation of Modern Languages Teachers’ Associations (AFMLTA); through which she led and contributed to significant national projects.  

She has received 2 major national awards:

·       The Australian Federation of Modern Languages Teachers’ Associations medal for outstanding contributions at national level to Languages Education

·       The Australian College of Educational Leadership (ACEL) 2018 award for outstanding educational leadership.

Recently she was also a finalist in the South Australian 2021 Governor’s Multicultural Awards.

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Workshop leaders

Saturday, November 20, 2021

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Workshop for Teachers

Project-Based Learning in Heritage Language Classrooms

Are you looking for ways to improve your heritage language students' motivation, literacy, vocabulary and academic knowledge in 90 minutes each week? If so, then this project-based learning workshop might be for you. Over this workshop, Dr. Trudie Aberdeen will demonstrate with real-life work from students how language learners can improve in each of these areas by working on projects that use science as a starting point. Participants will receive real and concrete examples of lessons, sample lesson plans, evaluation forms, and planning sheets specifically designed with heritage language teachers in mind. 

Dr, Trudie Aberdeen is an academic, a teacher trainer, an immersion teacher, and a heritage language teacher. Her experience spans the globe. Her passions are multilingualism and multiculturalism, teacher training, and meaningful professional development. She speaks 5 languages and is a strong advocate for heritage language schools and their professionalism.

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Workshop for Managers

International Guidelines for Professional Practices in Community-Based Heritage Language Schools

This workshop will introduce a new initiative which is a product of ongoing discussions and collaboration among a number of national heritage language associations and organizations from both Europe and North America. The workshop will invite feedback from participants as they consider how the guidelines can be implemented in their schools.

Marta McCabe, Ph.D., is Founder and Director of the Czech and Slovak School of North Carolina and a core member at the Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools. She also serves as an EFL Instructor at Durham Technical Community College and as a Research Scientist at the School of Education at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Her research examines the intersection of education, language, and migration, while focusing specifically on the linguistic, social, and cultural adaptation of second-generation immigrants from Eastern Europe. She has published on the topic of heritage language education in the International Journal of the Sociology of Language and in a Handbook on Heritage Language Education.

Joy Kreeft Peyton, PhD, is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) and President of the Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools. has over 35 years of experience working in the field of languages, linguistics, and culture in education. She was a founding member of the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages, hosted at CAL. She is co-editor of Heritage Languages in America: Preserving a National Resource and Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States: Research, Educational Practice, and Policy. Her work includes working with teachers and program leaders in K-12 and adult education settings to improve their instructional practice and study the implementation and outcomes of research-based practice, including implementing and studying approaches to writing that facilitate engagement and learning and promote academic and professional success. She is a Senior Advisor for the EU-SPEAK project (Newcastle University), whose mission is to enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers of adult immigrants who have limited education and literacy in their native language (LESLLA adults).


Saturday, November 20, 2021


Dr. Martin Guardado

Technology in HL education

Martin Guardado is a professor of applied and sociocultural linguistics in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta, Canada. He obtained his PhD from the University of British Columbia specializing in language education with a focus on heritage languages. His published research spans several topical themes, including the use of digital technologies in second and heritage language learning. Recent books include Discourse, ideology and heritage language socialization: Micro and macro perspectives (2018), The many faces of multilingualism: Language status, learning and use across contexts (2020, De Gruyter Mouton), and Curriculum development in English for academic purposes: A guide to practice (2020, Palgrave MacMillan).

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Dr. Mahera Ruby

Collaboration between HL programs and mainstream schools

Dr. Mahera Ruby is an academic and a certified personal growth and family coach. She has held teaching and research positions at UCL IoE, Goldsmiths, University of London and University of West London. As a senior researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, she has conducted research using an ethnographic approach in the homes, communities, and classrooms of both monolingual and bilingual children in East London. In addition to working on the Paul Hamlyn Foundation project on "Developing bilingual pedagogies through partnership between supplementaryand mainstream schools." She has worked on two ESRC projects, Intergenerational learning between children and grandparents and Developing bilingual learning in mainstream and community contexts. Dr. Mahera also co-directed the ESRC-funded research project on "Becoming literate through faith: language and literacy learning in the lives of new Londoners." Mahera co-authored her first book with Dr Charmian Kenner, Interconnecting Worlds: Teacher partnerships for bilingual learning, which has received many positive reviews. She has authored her latest book Family Jigsaws: Grandmothers as the missing piece shaping bilingual children's learner identities. Both books have been published by the IoE Press. Dr. Mahera completed her PhD in 2015 at Goldsmiths in the Department of Education. Her research focused on intergenerational learning taking place in three generations of families whose origins are from Bangladesh.

Mahera founded Blooming Parenting in 2012 with a vision to reshape and strengthen families and communities. Through facilitating bespoke parenting courses, Mahera supports parents to nurture their children and youth to blossom into the gifts that they truly are. The youth courses challenge the young people to explore and reflect on who they are, who they want to be and the legacies they want to leave behind.

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Dr. Rory McDaid

HL and language policy

Dr Rory Mc Daid is the Director of Research in Marino Institute of Education, where he is also Lecturer in Sociology of Education. Since 2017, he has coordinated the Migrant Teacher Project which provides information, advice and training to migrant teachers, to help them to continue their profession in Ireland. Dr Mc Daid’s research contributions include work with refugee and asylum seeking children and young people in Ireland, racism and linguicism in schools and teacher diversity. See this panelists's website.

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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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