Esperanto in Universities

Photo by: Andrzej Szozda

Some words about

Esperanto in Universities

Research and teaching on interlinguistics take place for the most part – though not only – under the auspices of universities around the world. As part of its efforts to develop the field of interlinguistics, CED seeks to connect and support researchers, professors and students who are involved in courses, programmes of study, dissertations and research projects on topics such as language planning, Esperanto and other auxiliary languages, linguistic justice, transnational communication and language policy.

Support for

Study Programmes and Professorships

CED’s concrete contributions to university-based activities include:

  • Practical and financial support to Chairs and Professorships on Interlinguistics and Esperanto, for example at the University of Amsterdam;
  • Organization and co-financing of scholarships for students, for instance in the Interlinguistics Programme at Adam Mickiewicz University;
  • Support for symposia and conferences;
  • Development and publication of scholarly materials, such as handbooks and teaching materials;
  • Convening instructors and researchers to discuss and plan various forms of collaboration.

If you are an academic and have a proposal related to any of the above-mentioned fields, please contact us.


Support Fund

The Interlinguistics Support Fund is headed by an international selection committee under the auspices of CED. In collaboration with the Esperantic Studies Foundation (ESF), this fund awards small grants (up to 2000 USD) to assist scholars and experienced students in conducting research in fields such as language planning, interlinguistics, transnational language policies, linguistic justice and planned languages (including Esperanto). The grants can support the purchase of (or access to) research materials, participation in conferences, travel to libraries and archives, support for fieldwork, website development and publication costs, among others. These grants are awarded through a competitive process. Read more about how to apply for the Interlinguistics Support Fund here.

Mentorship Programme for

New Researchers

Are you relatively new to the field of interlinguistics and seeking guidance and support in your research? CED offers a service to connect you with an experienced researcher who can provide advice, feedback and collaboration according to your goals and needs. The mentor-mentee relationship has a limited duration and, among other goals, aims to produce a publication about your research, in a scholarly journal or conference. Read more details about the Mentorship Programme here.

Esperanto in Universities in

A Historical Perspective

Over the course of Esperanto’s existence, a number of university faculty have successfully introduced courses on Esperanto, Esperanto studies and interlinguistics within their institutions. The most durable such tradition can be found at the University of Liverpool, thanks to John Buchanan, who established a fund in 1931 for the teaching of Esperanto and interlinguistics. This fund continues to support lectures, workshops and scholarships for doctoral candidates.

In the Netherlands, Esperanto has been taught at the University of Amsterdam since 1948. In 1997, at the initiative of Hans Erasmus, a Special Chair in Interlinguistics and Esperanto was established. Originally held by Marc van Oostendorp, in 2002 the Special Chair was taken up by Wim Jansen, who held it for 11 years. In 2013 Federico Gobbo was appointed as Jansen’s successor and remains in that role to this day. The Chair holder teaches two courses a year, on Esperanto and interlinguistics, and carries out research in the field of interlinguistics with particular attention to theoretical and practical aspects of planned languages.

In Hungary, in Budapest to be exact, István Szerdahelyi founded an extensive Esperanto studies department at ELTE University in 1966, offering a master’s-level degree. He trained several current leaders in the university-level teaching of Esperanto, among them Ilona Koutny, who, after relocating to Poland, founded the postgraduate programme in Interlinguistic Studies at Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM), in Poznań. The first cohort in Interlinguistic Studies began in 1998 and has been followed by a new cohort every third year up to the present day. On the basis of three years of study, this programme produces researchers and instructors with a solid and broad theoretical foundation and useful practical knowledge. It is also possible to obtain a PhD on themes related to interlinguistics and Esperanto at the UAM.

In Germany, from 1988 to 2007, Detlev Blanke lectured on interlinguistics at Humboldt University in Berlin. Subsequently, up until 2023, Sabine Fiedler offered courses on interlinguistics at the University of Leipzig. Both scholars played leading roles in the Gesellschaft für Interlinguistik, the most active national organization in that field in the world.

In China in 2018, a Department of Esperanto was established at Zaozhuang University; it awards a bachelor’s degree to students who complete a four-year programme of study. Although other universities in China, South Korea and Japan host courses in Esperanto and sometimes in interlinguistics, there is no up-to-date overview of those activities.

In several universities around the world, Esperanto and/or interlinguistics are taught on occasion (see a more complete list here). The International League of Esperanto Teachers is also active in this field, in addition to its primary focus on the teaching of Esperanto in schools. CED’s challenge is to encourage more of such initiatives.

Ŝlosilaj homoj en la starigo de universitataj fakoj
D-ro John Buchanan
John Buchanan, University of Liverpool
István Szerdahelyi, ELTE University
Detlev Blanke, Humboldt University Berlin
Ilona Koutny, Adam Mickiewicz University
Sun Mingxiao
Sun Mingxiao, Zaozhuang University
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CED works hand-in-hand with Esperantic Studies Foundation to stimulate and promote activity on interlinguistics at all levels, but especially in university settings.

And CED also works closely with the International League of Esperanto Teachers (ILEI). ILEI has a separate section on its website which reports specifically on university-level activity and events (in Esperanto).

Our dual-language (Esperanto-English) partner site ESF Academic houses a wealth of information and news about our activities in and about Esperanto in universities, including lists of Esperanto-speaking professors and lecturers, student clubs, university websites, resources, and publications.

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