2020 edition

Dates and venues – 2020 edition

  • 17 February – 21 February 2020 in Innsbruck (Tyrol, Austria)
  • 24 February – 28 February 2020 in Bolzano/Bozen (South Tyrol, Italy)

The first week of the Winter School takes place at the Faculty of Law and at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of the Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck, Austria; the second week at the Institute for Comparative Federalism of Eurac Research, Italy.

The two weeks of the Winter School are divided into lectures and discussion sessions, interactive workshops and study visits in Innsbruck and Bolzano/Bozen. Please note that it is not possible to attend only one week of the programme.


The 2020 edition of the Winter School will focus on the topic “Federalism and Language“.

Participants will analyze the connections between language and federalism. For example, they will explore the correlation between language and law, the subnational or local regulation of language in multilevel systems as well as the challenges and opportunities of linguistic diversity. They will consider a wide range of case studies of symmetric and asymmetric federations, other multinational states and the European Union, including examples from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. In addition, one entire day of the programme will be dedicated to the perspectives of international organizations such as the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in relation to multilingualism and its promotion, particularly in territorially diverse environments.

Furthermore, the Winter School will provide insights into the multifaceted role language can play in federal systems in relation to education, the regulation of immigration and migrant integration, as well as institutional innovation.

Besides numerous opportunities for discussion with leading experts on multilevel governance throughout the lectures, a variety of interactive sessions will also offer participants the chance to share knowledge and experience. Lectures, workshops, Q&A’s and discussion groups will all address the various connections between federalism and language through the comparison of various case studies.

The Winter School will examine a series of issues:

  • What particular challenges does language pose for federal systems?
  • How do constitutions deal with the subject of language and federalism?
  • Are there asymmetries in language policies within multilevel systems?
  • How are the decision-making powers relating to language policy distributed across different levels of government?
  • What is the role played by courts when it comes to legal disputes in relation to language?
  • Does linguistic diversity lead to political conflict?
  • What kind of language rights and policies exist in multilevel systems in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia?
  • What are the challenges for linguistic minorities in federal states arising from new migration?
  • What are the costs and benefits of language regulations and of federalism?
  • What are the perspectives of international organizations on these issues?
  • What lessons can be learned from comparative practice?

The 2020 Winter School examines these and other questions by combining theoretical expertise and relevant case studies. As such, the programme is a unique opportunity for young academics, postgraduate students, civil servants and practitioners to receive enhanced training on the theoretical and practical aspects of federalism.

At the end of the Winter School, a certificate of attendance will be awarded to participants who have attended at least 95% of all classes. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to submit a working paper after the Winter School (not compulsory!). Further details will become available during the Winter School.


For half a day, the Winter School participants will be divided into four workshops in which they will discuss different topics with experts on:

A) Education Governance
B) Participation in Multilanguage Environments
C) Multilingualism and Legal Language
D) Migration and Integration

Applicants must select one of these four topics to be discussed in the workshop and submit a short essay in the application form. Click HERE for further information