For Immediate Release
October 24, 2006

Multilinguist to Speak at Education Lecture Series 

The UTB/TSC School of Education will be hosting guest speaker Dr. Rainer Enrique Hamel, Professor of Linguistics at the Universidad Autónoma Metropólitana, in Mexico City, as part of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Lecture Series, 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 9, in the Student Union El Gran Salon. 

Hamel’s presentation, “Spanish, English and Multilingualism in a Globalizing World,” will focus on the significance of Spanish as a language of global communication and the importance of cultural diversity and bilingual education. 

“Many people feel that English is the only cash language and that it is dominating all other languages around the world,” Dr. Patrick Smith, UTB/TSC associate professor of literacy/biliteracy, said. “What Dr. Hamel points out is that there is also a world of opportunities with the Spanish language. You will not believe how many different publications around the world are in Spanish.”  

Bilingual education is fast becoming an issue in the United States as the spotlight on immigration widens and the number of people whose primary language is Spanish reaches almost 400 million people worldwide. Hamel’s lecture will discuss this timely issue and the weight mastering two languages and cultures can have.

“The use of Spanish as an academic language is a powerful tool in the global economy,” Dr. Luz Murillo, a professor teaching cultural diversity classes in the School of Education, said. “This will be a great message for people in the Rio Grande Valley, where (bilingualism) has been mostly a home phenomenon, that this cultural resource will serve as an economic tool in the future because more and more journals and websites are being published in Spanish and being brought into the public sphere. Dr. Hamel's work shows that Spanish gives bilingual readers access to ideas produced in Latin America and Europe, as well as the U.S.” 

Hamel is a master of five languages: German, Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. He has also served as a visiting professor at Stanford University, University of California Santa Barbara, the Universidade Federal do Para in Brazil and the Universität Mannheim in Germany. 

He has published extensively on the role of Spanish and English as languages of wider communication in the Americas and on the topic of bilingual education in indigenous communities in Mexico and Latin America. 

For more information contact Dr. Patrick Smith at 882-6702 or at or Dr. Luz Murillo at 882-5841 or