Center for Applied Linguistics

Special Issue February 2017


Center for Applied Linguistics Reaffirms
its Mission of Promoting Access, Equity,
and Mutual Understanding

Statement from the Board of Trustees of the Center for Applied Linguistics

At this critical time in our nation's history and global affairs, with increasingly divisive politics at home, confusion and fear among many of our residents, and growing tensions abroad, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) reaffirms its deep commitment to its mission of promoting access, equity, and mutual understanding for linguistically and culturally diverse people around the world.

CAL's Board of Trustees rejects inflammatory rhetoric, acts of intolerance, and exclusionary practices that are anathema to CAL's mission and core values and to key principles of human rights.

Building on the legacy of CAL's founder, Charles A. Ferguson, we rededicate ourselves to our mission and values and to an increased focus on actions to support them. CAL's core values represent the essence of our identity and principles, acting as a beacon for how we serve our mission. The foundation of our philosophy is that language and culture are important individual and societal assets to be honored and cultivated.

In reinforcement of our mission and values, CAL also strongly supports such key principles of human rights as freedom of religion and speech, freedom of the press, and the right to peaceably assemble. In the words of Nelson Mandela, "To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity."

America is both a nation of immigrants and those who were already here. People from across the globe and from every religion and ethnicity have sought the promise affirmed on our Statue of Liberty. Throughout our history, newcomers have made significant contributions to our country, communities, and schools. We believe that the world is stronger when diversity is valued.

With our focus on language teaching and learning, CAL supports language education broadly and values our public schools as the keystone for ensuring that all have access to education. As part of our work with educators around the country, we have seen the effects of negative rhetoric on our schools, with far too many students now living in fear.

We recognize that elected officials have an obligation to protect the American people and that we should all take concerns about security seriously. However, we believe that bans on vulnerable refugees or increased discrimination against immigrants will not make our nation safer.

Now is a time to come together, not to react, reject or exclude, but to take positive actions based on our mission and values.

CAL will continue to seek reasoned dialogue based on solid evidence and serve as a coordinating agency to bring together scholars and practitioners to address critical issues related to language and culture. We will strengthen our efforts to connect research and practice, to influence language policy, and to provide research-based resources for educators to boost success for all students. We will engage with like-minded organizations and individuals to form an effective chorus in support of tolerance, access, equity, and mutual understanding.


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