The University of Iceland is preparing to offer Hindi as a part of their curricula in the academic year 2018-2019, according to a letter of intent signed by Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector at the University of Iceland, and Rajiv K. Nagpal, India's ambassador in Iceland.
The contract stipulates that the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, ICCR, will fund the position of guest lecturer in Hindi at the University of Iceland for two years, with an option of extending the period by one year. The University will provide housing and facilities for both the guest lecturer and teaching. The lecturer will consequently be chosen jointly by the University of Iceland and ICCR. The lecturer will design the study programme in collaboration with the University of Iceland; including which courses will be offered. The contract, furthermore, stipulates that the lecturer give one open lecture a year at the University on issues pertaining to India.
As stated above the plan is for Hindi teaching to begin the academic year 2018-2019, at the Faculty of Languages and Cultures at the School of Humanities. Hindi will thus become the fourteenth foreign language taught at the University of Iceland.
Hindi belongs to the Indo-European language family, like Icelandic, and is primarily spoken in India; the second largest country in the world. It is estimated that Hindi is the native language of around 260 million people; making it the fourth most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, and English. Furthermore, around 120 million people have Hindi as a second language.
"The signing of the letter of intent is an important milestone in the development of language teaching at the University of Iceland. The preparation phase has been ongoing for quite some time and I would like to thank the Indian ambassador in Iceland and the Indian government for their good will towards the University of Iceland. Teaching and research in the field of foreign languages has been gaining ground at the University of Iceland; the latest monument being Veröld - Vigdís' house on campus; housing an International Language Centre. It is a very positive development that Hindi, the fourth most widely spoken language in the world, will soon be added to the diverse flora of languages taught at the University of Iceland," said Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University at the signing.