A closeup view of a globe

Housed at Northeastern Illinois University, the Multilingual Learning Center (MLC) is a community-focused organization that provides high-quality world language learning programming to underserved Chicago children through the Success and Access to Multilingualism Initiative (SAMI). The initiative focuses on children in the age range of kindergarten through eighth grade.

The goal of SAMI is to narrow the gap between children who have access to early language learning opportunities and those who do not. The program extends to members of the Chicago area’s underserved student population, providing the chance to participate in an immersive language program. The Multilingual Learning Center helps its students enhance their cognitive skills, self-confidence and cultural awareness while nurturing in them a more expansive worldview.

Beginning with a pilot program in the summer of 2018, SAMI will represent a collaborative effort between Northeastern’s Department of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, the Department of World Languages and Cultures, the Department of Teacher Education’s Bilingual Bicultural program and community-based organizations.

Contact the MLC at mlc@neiu.edu or (773) 442-5873.

NEH Grant Award Press Release

Northeastern Illinois University’s Multilingual Learning Center in collaboration with Zahra Institute has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to develop a Kurdish Language and Culture Studies Program. It is a one-year project to develop three new courses and related curricular resources in Kurdish language and culture.

Kurdish language and culture programming at NEIU would contribute to an increase in inclusivity, cultural breadth and depth, global networking and an expansive cultural awareness. Because Kurds are transnational in the Middle East and that the Kurdish language has been in contact with many other languages such as Turkish, Persian, Zand dynasty, Pahlavi dialect, Arabic, Armenian, Keldanian, Circassian, and Georgian, the proposed project not only constitutes an innovation at NEIU, but also provides access to other cultures in the Middle East. This area of study would add programming that prepares our students for leadership, service and success in a diverse and multicultural global world, with academic support that values NEIU’s urban and global mission. It would nurture an inclusive environment for teaching and learning and help students develop their individual worldview, acquire social and cultural awareness, and gain a broad knowledge of a variety of ethnic studies. Such a program would offer opportunities for curriculum, research and practice, and enable our graduates to be informed and responsible world citizens.

Additionally, with the proposed Kurdish Studies Program at Northeastern Illinois University, internationally-recognized scholars and professionals would convene to collaborate at the most comprehensive center for Kurdish Studies in the United States, providing an invaluable resource to university students and pre-K-20 teachers seeking to teach Kurdish language or culture in various institutions. This center would grow interest by providing access to materials previously unavailable in the English-speaking world.

NEH Press Release

Awardee List

Mission Statement (SAMI)

The Success and Access through Multilingualism Initiative provides opportunities for world language learning to underserved minority children in Chicago to build cognitive skills, self-confidence, cultural awareness and a more expansive worldview.

Mission Statement (MLC)

Coming soon!