Council members 

Philippe Van Parijs – Chairman

D. in philosophy (Oxford) and social sciences (Leuven) and candidate in linguistics (Leuven). He is currently a visiting professor at UCLouvain and KU Leuven, after having founded and directed the Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics at UCLouvain from 1991 to 2016. He is the author of Linguistic Justice for Europe and for the World (Oxford 2011, translated into Dutch and German) and Belgium. Une utopie pour notre temps/ Een utopie voor onze tijd (Brussels/ Antwerp, 2018). Together with Alex Housen and Anna Sole-Mena, he initiated the Marnix Plan for a multilingual Brussels (2013).

Nadia Fadil

She has a PhD in social sciences from the KU Leuven and did post-doctoral work in Florence (IUE), Berkeley and New York (Columbia). She is currently a professor at the Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre of the KU Leuven. Her research focuses on Islam in Europe, with Brussels as the site of her fieldwork. She is the co-author of Moroccan Migration in Belgium (Leuven, 2017), Secular Bodies, Affects and Emotions. European Configurations (London, 2018) and Radicalisation in Belgium and the Netherlands (London, 2019).

Anne Posma – Vice-president

Holds master's degrees in modern literature (Montpellier) and Romance language and culture (Groningen), and a postgraduate degree in business administration (Sorbonne). Since 2007, she has been co-responsible for the bilingual teacher training project at the Haute Ecole Francisco Ferrer and since November 2019, she has also been a pedagogical advisor for multilingual education at the Department of Public Education of the City of Brussels. In this capacity, she supports schools that wish to become "immersion schools", starting with the Charles Buls primary school. Previously, she worked at the Dutch Embassy in Paris, for the translation agency Decryptos and as head of the pedagogical team at Interface 3, the Brussels training centre for women seeking employment.

Fatima-Zohra Ait El Maâti

Studied architecture at the KU Leuven (Brussel campus) and is currently doing a master's degree in sociology at the VUB . In addition, she founded in 2019 and leads the feminist art collective Imazi-Reine (Brussels), collaborates with Muntpunt as Audiovisual Producer & Media Mentor, has started a mission as "social cultural and community worker" within the vzw VOEM (Vereniging voor ontwikkeling en emancipatie van Moslims) and frequently intervenes as speaker or presenter in French, Dutch and English. Her documentary "My grandmother is not a feminist" was awarded by the New York Festival of Amazigh Film in 2020. 

Hilde De Smedt- Le Foyer

Is a speech therapist. Since 1984 she has been working for Foyer vzw in Molenbeek, first as coordinator of the project "Onderwijs in Eigen Taal en Cultuur" in the Dutch-speaking education system in Brussels, and since 2011 as coordinator of the project "Partners In Meertaligheid", which is mainly aimed at families whose usual language is not the language of the school, and which strives to develop both a sound language diagonal and a sound family language policy for multilingual children. In addition, she is currently coordinating the European project "Planting Languages. Seeds of success' and is a board member of the Harmonious Bilingualism Network (HabilNet).  

Laurence de Ruette

She holds a master's degree and an agrégation in foreign languages and literature (English-Dutch) from the University of Liège. Since 2004, she has been teaching English and Dutch at the Institut St Boniface, one of the first schools in Brussels to practice immersion teaching. Previously, she taught English and Dutch at CERAN (Spa) and worked as a translator and language teacher at Callataÿ & Wouters. 

Laurence Mettewie

She holds a Master's degree in literature (ULB) and a PhD in literature (VUB). Since 2004, she has been a professor of Dutch and applied linguistics at the University of Namur. Previously, she taught languages in secondary education and adult education. She has published numerous articles on multilingualism in the Belgian community context. In particular, she has studied the impact of socio-psychological factors on language acquisition, the context and outcomes of bilingual education and the multilingual needs of companies. She was one of the initiators of the association TIBEM (Tweetaligheid in Beweging-Bilinguisme en Mouvement) (2002-2018). 

Nicole Wauters

Holds a master's degree in education sciences. She is an activist in the Changements pour l'Egalité movement and participates in the elaboration of the "French as a learning language" tests for the Cabinet of the Minister of Education as well as in the work of the Pacte pour un Enseignement d'Excellence's referential commission.  From 2007 to 2018, she worked as a primary school inspector in the municipalities of Schaerbeek and Evere. Before that, she worked for 25 years as a primary school teacher in a French-speaking school in Brussels and then for ten years as a pedagogical advisor at the Secretariat of Catholic Education (SEGEC). She is co-author of Voir l'école maternelle en grand (King Baudouin Foundation, 2019) and author of Langage et réussite scolaire. Pratiques d'enseignement et français de scolarisation' (forthcoming).

Olivier Willocx

Has a degree in economics (ULB) and a degree in European law (Amsterdam). Since 2000, he has been CEO of BECI (Brussels Enterprises Commerce & Industry). He is also a member of the board of directors of the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium, the Arab-Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and

Piet Vervaecke

He studied speech therapy (Bruges) and political science (VUB). Since 2010 he has been director of the Onderwijscentrum Brussel, which he coordinated since its creation in 2008 by integrating Taalvaart, Schoolopbouwwerk Brussel, Nascholingscentrum Brussel and various organisations supporting Dutch-language education in Brussels. Before that, he worked for the Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie within Taalvaart since 1993. On the Urban Education blog, he writes about education in the multilingual context of Brussels.

Rudi Janssens

Died prematurely on August 21, 2021. He was a doctor of sociology (VUB). After being a researcher at the Center for Statistics and Operations and the Center for Women's Studies at the VUB, he became one of the core members of BRIO, the interdisciplinary center for the study of Brussels at the VUB. His work included the Language Barometers, an in-depth study of the language situation in the Brussels Region and in the Flemish Periphery, to which we owe most of what we know about the knowledge and use of languages in Brussels. His two most recent books are Multilingualism as a Mission. An analysis of the Brussels language situation based on language barometer 4 (VUB 2018) et The Rand translated. An analysis of the language situation based on Language Barometer 2 of the Flemish Periphery (VUB 2019).  

Dirk Jacobs

Holds a master's degree in sociology (UGent) and a doctorate in social sciences (Utrecht). After having been a lecturer at the KU Brussel, he has been a professor of sociology at the ULB since 2007, where he heads the interdisciplinary network of Brussels studies (EBxl). From 2012 to 2017, he was awarded a major European research credit on the topic of "Equal opportunities for migrant youth in educational systems with high levels of social and ethnic segregation". He is the co-author of BruVoices, Social cohesion in Brussels according to its inhabitants (King Baudouin Foundation, 2017) and Going beyond school segregation (King Baudouin Foundation, 2018).

Yvon Englert

Is a doctor of medicine (ULB), doctor of obstetrics (ULB) and holds an MBA in executive health (Rennes). He is currently prorector of the ULB after having been assistant, professor, dean, and finally rector from 2016 to September 2020. From 1996 to 2001, he was also the first president of the National Bioethics Committee. Together with Caroline Pauwels, rector of the VUB, he launched in April 2019 a project for a multilingual secondary school in Brussels. During the last academic year of his mandate as rector, declared a 'multilingual year' and opened with a memorable trilingual performance with his colleague from the VUB, the ULB organised a multitude of activities promoting multilingualism. 

Helena Van Driessche

She has a degree in Romance philology (VUB). Since 2008, she has been the director of the Dutch-speaking Atheneum in Woluwe St Pierre, a pioneering school in the field of immersion teaching on the Dutch-speaking side. Previously, she taught French and Spanish at the Technisch Instituut Anneessens, the Hoofdstedelijk Atheneum Karel Buls, the Gemeentelijk Atheneum Anderlecht and the Koninklijk Atheneum Asse. From 2000 to 2008, she was director of the Instituut Anneessens-Funck of the City of Brussels. She is a member of the STIMOB (Stimuleren van Meertalig Onderwijs in Brussel) and "Anderstalige Nieuwkomers" working groups of the Scholengroep Brussel. 

Olivia P’tito

She is a lawyer specialising in social law (ULB) and environmental law (USt Louis). Since 2013, she has been Director General of Bruxelles-Formation and in this capacity is piloting the implementation of the future Cité des langues. Since 2019, she is also a member of the Executive Committee of the International Network of Cities of Crafts and Trades. Previously, she worked for the federal FGTB and in the ministerial cabinets of Elio Di Rupo and Laurette Onkelinx. She was also a member of the Brussels Parliament from 2004 to 2013, where she chaired the education and environment committees. She has been involved in various associations and social economy structures, in particular in Molenbeek. 

Wim Vandenbussche

Holds a master's degree and a doctorate in Germanic language and literature (VUB). He has been teaching at the VUB since 2006, currently as a full professor of Dutch and general linguistics. He is also the chairman of the Onderzoekscentrum voor Taalkunde and the director of the Academisch Centrum voor Taalonderwijs. Previously, he was a doctoral and post-doctoral researcher at the Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek. He is the co-author or coordinator of numerous books, including Taalpolitiek, taalplanning en taalgebruik in het Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Ghent, 2007), Lower Class Language Use in the 19th Century (Berlin, 2007), The standardisation of minority languages (Berlin, 2015), Language Ecology for the 21st Century (Oslo, 2013), Historical multilingualism (Berlin, 2017) and Language Contact. An International Handbook (Berlin, 2019).

Gregor Chapelle

He has a law degree from UCLouvain and a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University. He has been the managing director of Actiris since 2011, after having been a lawyer at the Brussels bar, a partner at McKinsey and a labour alderman in Forest. He has also chaired the French-speaking Student Federation and Brussels Emergence - JobYourself.

Reports of meetings 

7 October 2020: First meeting of the Brussels Council for Multilingualism

The Brussels Council for Multilingualism was officially installed in the Brussels Parliament on 26 September 2020 during the first Brussels Day of Multilingualism.During its first formal meeting, held on 7 October 2020, it has in particular :

  • finalised its rules of procedure;
  • discussed the conclusions of the inventory of Brussels' multilingualism initiatives prepared by the Brussels Studies Institute
  • examined the content and procedure of the call for projects to promote multilingualism 2021-22 (publication planned for November 2020);
  • had a first discussion on the objectives and
  • promotion of multilingualism as regards languages other than French, Dutch and English.

The full minutes of the meeting will be available on request after approval by the Board at its next meeting (3 February 2021).

3 February 2021: Second meeting of the Brussels Council for Multilingualism

At its second official meeting on 3 February, the Brussels Council for Multilingualism discussed, among other things, the following issues

  • took stock of the "BeTalky" call for projects to promote multilingualism (99 applications received);
  • heard the conclusions of a meeting with the management committee of the Cité des Langues;
  • made an inventory of the possibilities of collaboration with the European institutions in the promotion of multilingualism;
  • discussed the conclusions of the report of the working group on the place to be given to languages other than French, Dutch and English
  • discussed a draft brochure on how to deal with multilingualism in schools;

The full minutes of the meeting will be available on request after approval by the Board at its next meeting (2 June 2021).

2 June 2021: Third meeting of the Brussels Council for Multilingualism

At its third official meeting on 2 June, the Brussels Council for Multilingualism
Multilingualism Council held its third official meeting on 2 June:

The full minutes of the meeting will be available on request after approval by the Board at its next meeting (15 September 2021).

Internal regulations

Internal rules of procedure
approved by the Council on 7 October 2020

1. Mission 
Art.1 The “Brussels Council for Multilingualism”, hereinafter referred to as “the Council”, is a body set up by the Minister for the Promotion of Multilingualism in the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, hereinafter referred to as “the Minister”, in accordance with his Policy Note of 9 December 2019, with the aim of “bringing all relevant players to the table in order to develop a clear action plan on multilingualism”.  

Art.2 In consultation with the Minister, the Council draws up strategic guidelines and helps develop a sustainable policy on all matters relating the promotion of multilingualism. It does so by sharing with policy makers both existing expertise and new insights stemming from the experience of its members. It thereby ensures that attention is continually paid to the topic of multilingualism in the Brussels Capital Region.

Art.3 The Council is committed to the central objective stated in the Minister’s Policy Note: to promote, among the entire Brussels population, the ability to communicate in French, Dutch and English, while recognizing the importance and added value of learning and transmitting all the native languages spoken in our cosmopolitan capital city, and ensuring a good command of at least one of the school languages.

Art.4 The activity of the Council includes three pillars: – Policy advice: the Council formulates non-binding recommendations to guide future policy on multilingualism.– Policy support: by being at the crossroads of research, practice and policy, the Council uses its expertise and networks to support government action in the service of multilingualism.   – Information exchange: Council members are alert to what is happening on the ground and keep one another and policy makers informed about current and recent bottom-up projects.  

2. Membership 
Art.5 The composition of the Council is guided by the following considerations:– The Council consists of between 12 and 20 members.– The members of the Council are appointed by the Minister on the basis of their expertise, experience and commitment to the cause of multilingualism in Brussels.– The membership should be balanced and diverse in terms of gender, age, native languages, sectors, etc.– The members of the Council are expected to have at least a passive knowledge of French, Dutch and English.

Art.6 Council members are appointed for a renewable term of three years. In the event of a member wishing to resign before the end of this term, the Minister must be informed in writing. The Minister may then appoint a new member, taking into account the considerations listed in article 5.

Art.7 The mandate of the members of the Council is not remunerated.

Art.8 The members of the Council perform their duties in their personal capacity and in complete independence. It is expected that they should not represent their organisation but rather work together to promote multilingualism in Brussels. 

Art.9 The Minister appoints a chairperson and a vice-chairperson among the members of the Council for a renewable term of three years.

3. Functioning 
Art.10 The Council meets at least three times per year.

Art.11 The chairperson shall draw up the agenda, issue the invitations and chair, open and close the meetings. If the chairperson is unable to attend, the vice-chairperson shall take over these tasks. In the absence of the latter, the oldest member shall chair the meeting. 

Art.12 A member of the Cabinet of the Minister serves as secretary of the Council. The secretary attends the meetings, is responsible for their practical organisation, draws up the minutes and provides logistical support. The minutes contain an attendance list, important information shared during the meeting and all the decisions made. They do not attribute particular interventions to individual members. They are submitted for approval at the beginning of the following meeting. 

Art.13 At least ten days before each meeting, the chairperson shall send its agenda to all members by e-mail or by letter, together with the minutes of the previous meeting and any other relevant document.

Art.14 At the beginning of each calendar year, the Council draws up an Annual Report on the activities of the previous year. The report must be approved by the Council at one if its meetings and sent to the Minister no later than 30 April.

Art.15 The Minister is received by the Council at least once a year.

Art.16 Depending on the agenda, the Council may, on an ad hoc basis, invite other persons to take part in its meetings. The Council may decide to set up working groups composed of Council members. Other persons may also be invited to these working groups on an ad hoc basis.

Art.17 If a vote has to be taken in the Council, this will be done by simple majority. 

Art.18 Meetings of the Council shall not be public. The use of social media is restrained accordingly. 

Art.19 The recommendations of the Council, its annual report and a brief account of each of its meetings shall be made accessible online for the general public. The minutes, once approved, shall be available on request. Any proactive external communication on behalf of the Council shall be done in consultation with the Minister.

Art.20 Council members and guests can express themselves in French, Dutch and English during the meetings. The agendas and minutes of the meetings will be provided in English, with parts in Dutch and French whenever convenient. Other documents that might be useful for the working of the Council will be provided in the language(s) in which they happen to be available. 

4. Final provision
Art.21 These internal rules can be modified by agreement between the Council and the Minister. Proposals for amendments must be sent to the members of the Council at least ten days before the relevant meeting. If they are approved by the Council, they become effective once they are endorsed by the Minister.