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 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. His current research focus is on the effects of multilingualism on the brain.

Dr. Davyth Hicks

Dr. Davyth Hicks

ELEN Secretary-General

A Celticist specialising in language revitalisation, planning, policy, and rights. He is the Director of Eurolang and has drafted European Parliament and Commission Reports on linguistic diversity, endangered languages and multilingualism, worked as political adviser to the European Parliament Intergroup for national and linguistic minorities and as an expert for the Council of Europe. Based in Brussels he is ELEN’s chief advocate and representative to the EU, Council of Europe, UN, UNESCO, and OSCE.

Mr Tangi Louarn

Mr Tangi Louarn

ELEN Vice-President

Tangi 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.

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 which leads the field in Basque language recovery. He led the Donostia Language Protocol initiative which has become the new standard-setting tool for language rights.

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 is 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 has led extensive research projects and postgraduate initiatives in language planning and minority language culture and sociology. He co-authored the government-commissioned Gaeltacht survey Comprehensive Linguistic Study of the Use of Irish in the Gaeltacht (2007).

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. Mirjam Vellinga

Dr. Mirjam Vellinga

Steering Committee Member

Drs. Mirjam Vellinga  studied Frisian language and literature at the University of Groningen (RuG). She has been working  on Frisian language projects since 1998 and is currently head of the language promotion division at Afûk, which is the organisation in Fryslân that promotes Frisian language and culture (founded in 1928). 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 advising public services on language policy.

Prof. Elin Haf Gruffudd-Jones

Prof. Elin Haf Gruffudd-Jones

Steering Committee Member

Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones is Director at Mercator International, and was Professor at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University, Wales until 2018. She has presented papers at international conferences and published widely on media, languages, creative translation and the cultural industries, co-edited Social Media and Minority Languages: Convergence and the Creative Industries (2013) and authored numerous reports for S4C the Welsh-language TV channel Authority. She has chaired several committees of international conferences organised in Wales and served on the scientific committees of international conferences, symposia and workshops.

Marga Payola i Lahoz

Marga Payola i Lahoz

Steering Committee Member

Marga is the international representative for the Catalan NGO Plataforma per la Llengua. She has years of experience working at the European level.

Rafael Castelló

Rafael Castelló

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

Nicolas Caracota

Nicolas Caracota

President of the Council of Armans