SWITZERLAND: Multilingualism is said to be an asset, a cohesion factor and a positive motor that plays a role in the social, cultural and economic development of Switzerland.
Mrs. Nicoletta Mariolini, Swiss Federal Delegate for Plurilingualism made this assertion at a reception held in honour of the Cameroon’s delegates of the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism who visited Switzerland recently on a working visit.
She said multilingual really helps the country to build bridges between national and international interest; and a resonant element in the cooperation and bilateral relations between the two countries. She expected that Cameroon, during the visit, would be able to find a concrete answer and a way of dialogue between all actors involved in promoting plurilingualism in Cameroon, while enumerating some of the effects of multilingualism in the country.
These include: the country’s peaceful linguistic coexistence, its plurilingualism as a shared responsibility at every level, and
its decentralization policy experience.
Mr. Peter Mafany Musonge the head of Cameroonian delegation, in his own address, acknowledged the traditional hospitality of the Swiss, the excellent relations and cooperation between the two countries, and pointed to the similarities they share like in culture and multilingual diversity.
While he cited Switzerland’s four official languages, a rich cultural diversity, and many dialects spoken in its 26 cantons, he talked about Cameroon’s two official languages, English and French, a result of its cultural heritage, and over two hundred ethnic groups speaking many dialects, saying they are proud of inherited linguistic and cultural heritage dated to recent past and far back in the country’s history.
He explained that President Paul Biya directed the preservation and the consolidation of both, adding that on 23 January 2017 the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism was created and saddled with a mission to promoting bilingualism and multiculturalism with a view to play a role in the maintenance of peace, consolidation of national unity and reinforcement of mutual co-existence of Cameroonians.
He further explained that during Mrs. Nicoletta Mariolini’s visit to Cameroon and through various activities they shared Switzerland's experience in management of its multilingualism and cultural diversity which constitutes the bedrock of Switzerland’s prosperity and the cohesion of its society.
Coming to Switzerland they were about to see and learn more about the value of Swiss democracy, the beautiful landscapes of the country that enhance its tourism industry and reminded them of some mountainous regions of Cameroon.
Mr. Musonge appreciating the solid friendship between Switzerland and Cameroon, hopes the exchange of practices and experiences on the promotion of multilingualism and cultural diversity will be further deepened between the two countries.