Beyond BiElingualism

An exploration of multilingual childhood in the city of Biel/Bienne

Design author: Gianluca Pala

Image creator: Laura Faccin

The city of Biel/Bienne promotes its bilingualism. However, daily life goes beyond two "official" languages to include a wide range of additional "unofficial" languages, forming a dynamic multilingual reality. How do the children of Biel/Bienne perceive the languages of their daily lives and the surrounding multilingual context? 

We explore these questions in a public event, co-organised by the Center for the Study of Language and Society (CSLS) of the University of Bern (UNIBE) and the Bilingual Teacher Training Course (BIL) of the Pädagogische Hochschule Bern (PHBern).

The evening will begin with an exhibition of "language maps" created jointly by students of the Filière Bilingue (FiBi) and students of the UNIBE and the PHBern. A public discussion about everyday multilingualism in the city of Biel/Bienne will follow with invited guests from local institutions and civil society organizations.



9. June 2023 | 17:00-19:00 | Followed by an apéro

Aula des Prés-Ritter | Freiestrasse 45, 2502 Biel/Bienne



17:00 - 18:00     Exhibition of "language maps" of FiBi students

18:00 - 19:00     Public discussion about everyday multilingualism

An activity for children will be organized during the public discussion

19:00                 Apéro


The discussion will be bilingual in German / French.

Admission is free.


Glenda Gonzalez Bassi

City Councillor and Director of Education, Culture and Sport. She is responsible for all public schools in the City of Biel/Bienne, after-school care, sports and socio-cultural activities for the youth.

Virginie Borel

Director of the Forum for the Bilingualism (Biel/Bienne). As a journalist and communication specialist, she has been managing projects in the fields of education-culture-politics-economy for more than 15 years, aiming at a better inter-ethno-linguistic understanding in the Canton of Berne and in Switzerland.

Mariann Halasy-Nagy Liratni

Co-director and responsible for the Multimondo program (Biel/Bienne). Previously worked at the ISA (Information Center for Foreigners, Bern), and as a scientific collaborator at the Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies (Neuchâtel). She is a member of the regional committee of SRF SSR.

Esther Cuendet

Co-Principal of the primary school unit Filière Bilingue (FiBi), Biel/Bienne Public Elementary School; responsible for the French-speaking unit.

Carole Strähl

Co-principal of the school unit Primary Filière Bilingue (FiBi), public elementary school Biel/Bienne; responsible for the German-speaking unit.

Collective artwork created by the children of Biel/Bienne Public School - Ritter Aula.

For any additional information please do not hesitate to contact:

Gianluca Pala -

Sponsored by the Language Latitudes Project at the University of British Columbia.