Steering Committee

ELEN’s strength lies with its people and our member organisations. They represent the highest level of expertise in lesser-used language protection and promotion with experiences from many linguistic situations. The ELEN Steering Committee, our governing body, features a wealth of this expertise from across Europe.

Prof. Ferran Suay i Lerma

Prof. Ferran Suay i Lerma

ELEN President

Ferran Suay (b. València, 1959) has a PhD in Psychology and works as a biopsychology Professor at the University of València. In ELEN he represents the NGO Acció Cultural del País Valencià (ACPV) and Federacio Llull (which comprises ACPV, Omnium Cultural and Obra Cultural Balear). In his long research career he has developed the concept of “linguistic assertiveness” which has been addressed in several articles, chapters and books, for example, Sortir de l’armari lingüístic (Leaving the linguistic closet) published in 2010. His current research focus is on the effects of multilingualism on the brain.

Dr. Davyth Hicks

Dr. Davyth Hicks

ELEN Secretary-General

Davyth Hicks is a specialist on regional, minoritised and endangered languages, the regeneration of these languages, and on linguistic rights. As Secretary-General and one of the founders of ELEN he plays a key role in developing language policy and planning at the European, State and local level. He is ELEN’s chief advocate and representative to the EU, the Council of Europe, and the UN.

Mr Tangi Louarn

Mr Tangi Louarn

ELEN Vice-President

Tangi Louarn is President of the large Breton umbrella NGO Kevre Breizh, and President of EBLUL France which gathers all the regional language NGOs in the French territories. He has been a renowned language activist since the 1960s and worked on the Steering Committee of EBLUL. Tangi acts also as ELEN’s representative to the UN and to UNESCO.

Mr Paul Bilbao-Sarria

Mr Paul Bilbao-Sarria

ELEN Vice-President

Paul Bilbao Sarria is Secretary-General of the Basque NGO Kontseilua, the Council of Social Organisations working for Basque comprising 40 member organisations and which leads the field in Basque language recovery. As Vice-President Paul often represents ELEN at the UN. He currently leads on the new Donostia Language Protocol initiative.

Professor Dr. Anneli Sarhimaa

Professor Dr. Anneli Sarhimaa

ELEN Vice-President

Professor Dr. Anneli Sarhimaa is head of the Northern European and Baltic Languages and Cultures (SNEB) department at the University of Mainz. Anneli’s linguistic expertise lies in the fields of empirical and contact linguistics. She also acted as overall co-ordinator for the highly successful ELDIA European project.  

Mr Marcos Maciera Eiras

Mr Marcos Maciera Eiras

ELEN Vice-President

Marcos Maceira Eiras is the President of A Mesa pola Normalización Lingüística, the leading NGO for the protection and promotion of Galician.

Dr Claudia Soria

Dr Claudia Soria

ELEN Vice-President

Dr. Claudia Soria is a researcher at the Institute for Computational Linguistics at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche in Pisa, Italy. Claudia is the project leader for the EU funded Digital Language Diversity Project on which ELEN is a partner, and brings all of her expertise on ICT and the digitalisation process for lesser-used languages to ELEN as well as having expertise on the linguistic situation in Italy.

Mr Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin

Mr Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin

ELEN Vice-President

Mr Ciarán Mac Giolla Bhéin is Advocacy Manager for Conradh na Gaeilge, the leading language NGO for Irish founded in 1893.

Ms Krisztina Sándor

Ms Krisztina Sándor

ELEN Vice-President

Krisztina Sándor is the Executive President of Erdélyi Magyar Nemzeti Tanács (EMNT), the leading NGO for Hungarians in Romania, and has been re-elected twice for this position. Earlier, between 2003 – 2011, she was the President of the Hungarian Youth Council of Romania, an independent NGO in Romania, which worked to protect and represent Hungarian youth.

Prof. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin

Prof. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin

ELEN Vice-President

Prof. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin was appointed to the Gaelic Research Professorship in the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland in April 2014. He is also the academic director of Soillse, a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research project. He is based at Scotland’s national college for Gàidhlig, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, on the Isle of Skye. Conchúr Ó Giollagáin has led extensive research projects and post-graduate initiatives in language planning and minority language culture and sociology. He has written extensively on issues concerning the sustainability of minority cultures, especially the Gaeltacht communities in Ireland. Conchúr previously lectured in the School of Political Science and Sociology in the National University of Ireland Galway on the sociology of language. His teaching and research interests include language planning, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. Previously, he was the Head of the Language Planning Unit in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, where he devised and lead Ireland’s first MA programme in Language Planning. He also contributed to the development of the Acadamh’s MA in Language Sciences. He co-authored the government-commissioned Gaeltacht survey Comprehensive Linguistic Study of the Use of Irish in the Gaeltacht (2007). Conchúr received his PhD in Modern Irish from UCD and he also lectured in the Department of Irish in St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University, and in the Department of Celtic Studies in the Catholic University of Lublin, Poland.

Mr Dòmhnall MacNèill

Mr Dòmhnall MacNèill

ELEN Vice-President

Dòmhnall has worked in broadcast journalism, primarily in Gaelic, with the BBC, STV and Grampian Television. This was followed by a move into public relations for Highlands and Islands Enterprise and then into transport development. Latterly he held the post of Gaelic Development Manager for The Highland Council, working towards the implementation of the authority’s Gaelic Language Plan, before becoming Comunn na Gàidhlig Chief Executive in early 2010.

Dr. Rosa de le Neus Marco-Palau

Dr. Rosa de le Neus Marco-Palau

ELEN Vice-President

Dr. Rosa de les Neus Marco-Palau has a PhD in Communication Sciences from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra
in Barcelona and the Universität Frankfurt. She is a teacher and researcher in political communication
and languages. Multilingual, she speaks 6 languages. Rosa is part of the Steering Committee
of Plataforma per la Llengua, the NGO that promotes Catalan.
Prof. Elin Haf Gruffydd-Jones

Prof. Elin Haf Gruffydd-Jones

ELEN Vice-President

Prof. Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones is Director at Mercator International. She has lectured and published widely on media, languages, creative translation and the cultural industries, and currently teaches at Prifysgol Cymru Y Drindod Dewi Sant, Caerfyrddin.

Drs. Mirjam Vellinga

Drs. Mirjam Vellinga

ELEN Vice-President

Drs. Mirjam Vellinga  is head of the language promotion division at Afûk, the organisation in Fryslân that promotes Frisian language and culture. In 2007 she initiated and developed the successful language promotion ‘Praat mar Frysk’.  She is also involved in projects relating to Frisian usage in healthcare and the private sector, as well as and advising public services on language policy.

Rafael Castelló

Rafael Castelló

Rafael, a professor in sociology and social anthropology, represents the University of Valencia.

Nicolas Caracota

Nicolas Caracota

Council of Armans