September 14, 2022

Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and Friends of Rutgers Humanities,

I write to announce the official launch of the Year of Languages, an initiative sponsored by the Division of Humanities in the School of Arts and Sciences that seeks to advance a culture of languages across the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus.


I invite you visit the landing page for the Year of Languages to learn about our many initiatives throughout the 2022-2023 academic year.  The page will be updated with a list of courses and events in the coming days.

Our first major initiative is the “Why Do I Learn Languages?” Essay Competition.  Next week, from September 19 through September 23, we will be inviting students across campus, from every major and minor and every school at Rutgers, to tell us how learning another language contributes to their ways of thinking, their worldview, their attitude towards others, their career growth, and their self-awareness.  Students enrolled in every language class on campus will have the opportunity to complete this short essay – 150 words – in class.  An interdisciplinary faculty committee will select 5 winners and 5 honorable mentions whose essays and photos will be displayed on posters and video screens around campus, the Year of Languages website, and Year of Languages social media feeds. They will also be honored at the Year of Languages celebration on Voorhees Mall in April 2023.  Students: we can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

I am also very excited to announce our first-ever Language Course Open House, during the week of October 24 through October 28, in which students will have the opportunity to visit a language class in which they are not enrolled, selecting from the enormous range of languages we offer on campus.  What is like to learn Arabic? Spanish? Korean? Polish? Instructors will be opening their classrooms to any Rutgers student who would like to find out.  We will be distributing information about class schedules and a sign-up procedure later this month.  The Open House will give students across the disciplines and schools an opportunity to consider how language study might fit their personal and professional goals, as well as their schedule, in advance of Spring 2023 registration. 

A YoL event that is coming up very soon is the celebration of International Translation Day.  The United Nations has designated September 30 for celebrations worldwide.  On that day at Rutgers, several events will showcase our multilingual strengths as well as to pay tribute to those who, with their language skills, play an essential role in bringing nations together.  Translation facilitates international and intercultural dialogue, understanding, and cooperation.  The work of translators helps develop and strengthen world peace and security.  Several events and activities across campus have been organized collaboratively by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, their Translation and Interpreting Program, the new Rutgers Translation Studies Initiative, the Department of EnglishThe Language Center, and the Program in Comparative Literature.  

Please watch the YoL web site for new updates, featuring Fall 2022 courses related to language, language justice, and interdisciplinary approaches to languages across the curriculum, as well as many events and activities.  We will be updating this list throughout the year.  If you would like us to include your course or event, please contact us; we will be accepting new courses and new events on a rolling basis.  You can write to Preetha Mani, Faculty Fellow for the Year of Languages, with questions or suggestions.

I look forward to sharing this marvelous Year of Languages with you over the coming months.  As we engage with the languages we know and the languages our neighbors know, there is no better way to celebrate our academic excellence, our beloved community, and our commitment to the common good. 


Rebecca Walkowitz

Dean of Humanities

Distinguished Professor