VUB ALEF programme awarded EU Language Label

VUB ALEF programme awarded EU Language Label

On 11 January, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) received the top prize of the European Language Label for its ALEF programme. The programme provides extracurricular Arabic lessons by VUB language experts for children aged six to 15, in a neutral environment. The European Language Label is an initiative by the European Commission to promote foreign language teaching in its member states.

The ALEF curriculum was developed by VUB language experts and emphasises language processing. It includes elements of both Western and Arabic culture. Examples include plays in Dutch, French and Arabic, trilingual songs, storytelling in collaboration with libraries in Brussels and dancing with instructions in three languages. Through ALEF, the VUB contributes to multilingualism, integration and increasing the self-esteem of children with an Arabic background.

“The VUB is an inclusive, urban and international university. The ALEF programme is a good example of how this is put into practice,” says Karin Vanderkerken, vice-rector for Internationalisation at VUB. “With this programme, the VUB and its partners are assuming their responsibility in relation to important social challenges, including integration and diversity in our community. Receiving the top award of the European Language Label is a recognition of the programme’s goals. My thanks go to the dedicated team and all the partners who have supported the programme.”

The European Language Label is awarded every year by Epos vzw in Flanders. It recognises innovative initiatives in the field of languages and brings them to the attention of policymakers, researchers and practitioners throughout Europe. ALEF received this recognition after a thorough evaluation by a jury. The label offers extra visibility to the programme. The teaching material developed for ALEF can now be used as an inspiration for organisations in Belgium and abroad that are interested in setting up similar initiatives.

More information


Sami Azar
​ALEF Programme (Arabic Language Classes for All)
​+32 (0) 2 614 80 99

Sam Jaspers
Sam Jaspers Woordvoerder a.i., perscontact wetenschap & onderzoek


About Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussel