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The University of Southampton

OBE awarded to Southampton professor

Published: 13 June 2014

Michael Kelly, Professor of French and currently Head of Modern Languages at the University of Southampton, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2014.

Mike has been recognised for services to higher education and European cooperation. He comments: “I am delighted to receive this honour. It recognises my contribution to cultural exchanges between Britain and France, as well as the work I have done to promote the study of languages in this country and across Europe.

“Learning about other cultures and learning other languages is important for everyone's future and I am lucky to work at the University of Southampton where this is well understood and supported.”

Professor Kelly is a specialist in modern French culture and society, on which he has published widely, and is a leading advocate on public policy in the area of languages in the UK and Europe. He is Director of the LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies and the Director of Routes into Languages, a government-funded programme designed to increase the up-take of languages in secondary and higher education. He is also Secretary of Speak to the Future, the national campaign on languages, which aims to provoke a step change in the UK’s attitudes and achievements in language learning.

Beyond the UK, Professor Kelly is Secretary of the European Language Council and Editor of the European Journal of Language Policy (Revue européenne de politique linguistique). He completed a substantial project for the European Commission in 2004 to develop a profile for language teacher training across Europe and led the ERASMUS-funded LanQua project, working with 61 European partners to develop a toolkit for quality assurance in languages in Europe.

In 2013, Professor Kelly was appointed a ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ by the French government and was honoured as an Officier des Palmes Academiques in 2007.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, Professor Don Nutbeam says: “I am delighted that the unique contribution Professor Kelly has made through his passion and enthusiasm for the teaching of languages and for his academic leadership is being recognised with this prestigious honour.”

Professor Kelly’s research relates to French cultural history in the 20th century, especially the history of ideas and intellectuals. He has recently published on intellectuals and religion in the 1930s and has undertaken research to investigate the policies and practice of language encounters in the UN peacekeeping operation in Bosnia between 1995 and 2000. Mike is currently working on debates around atheism and secularism in France and Britain.


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