‘Prestigious’ business languages journal relaunches at GW

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Richard Robin, a professor of Russian and international affairs, said the Global Business Languages journal, which will relaunch next month, will teach students how to engage with other cultures while conducting international business.

A “prestigious” business journal previously published at Purdue University will relocate to GW next month.

Mohssen Esseesy, the department chair and coordinator of the Arabic program, and Margaret Gonglewski, an associate professor of German and the director of German language, will co-edit the Global Business Languages journal, which they will unveil at a conference in March. Faculty said the journal’s transition to GW will strengthen the University’s reputation as a leader in business language instruction because the journal is the only publication that delves into business languages.

Gonglewski, who is overseeing the journal’s transition to GW, said the business language field lost a valuable “venue” for publishing research in 2014 when Purdue exhausted its grant funding for the publication. She said she proposed republishing the journal through GW CIBER, a center that supports business language instruction, to contribute to the University’s aspiration of becoming a “preeminent research university.”

“I viewed it as a chance to support this important academic field and the scholars working in it,” Gonglewski said in an email. “We could have instead proposed to start a brand new journal, but we saw it as an enormous advantage to build on the long history and good reputation of GBL.”

Gonglewski, Esseesy and Anna Helm, the GW CIBER director, said in a joint statement that the center will focus on the themes of “institutions, inclusive globalization and U.S. competitiveness” when presenting the journal at the conference.

“This theme draws on strong GW faculty capabilities across a range of disciplines, as well as University-wide interests in promoting economic development through scholarship, education and outreach to the business, academic and policy communities,” the trio said in an email.

Anna Helm, who is also an associate teaching professor of international business, will serve on the journal’s editorial board alongside members of the University language faculty. She said the journal’s relaunch is a reflection of the University’s commitment to fostering strong “cross-disciplinary” collaboration between language and business.

“This move also reaffirms our position as a regional and national resource center for business language teaching and scholarship,” Helm said.

In 2010, about 80,800 articles were downloaded from The Global Languages Journal, with an average of 414 downloads per article or review, according to the publication’s website. In 2019, the publication was downloaded about 22,000 times, the website shows.

Faculty members said professors can draw upon the research in the journal when teaching students about business language communication.

Richard Robin, a professor of Russian and international affairs and the director of the Russian language program, said students can use the journal to learn how to engage with other cultures while conducting international business. He said faculty teaching business language courses can draw on content from the journal to teach students about multilingual communication in a growing global economy.

“But our journal discusses how to make some sort of useful input that involves real-life interactions, not only on a personal level but also on a business level,” Robin said.

He said GW CIBER differentiates the University from peer institutions because the center hosts specialized language training workshops for business language professors.

“And again, we’re not talking about boardroom business, we’re talking about every day on-the-ground transactions,” Robin said. “Those things have usually not been included in the curriculum, and the journal that I will be contributing to discusses precisely how that kind of thing can be done.”

Christiane Keck, a former professor of German at Purdue who founded the journal in 1986, said she was told last April that the University had received a grant to revive global business languages and was thrilled to hear the journal was being relaunched.

“It’s important simply because there aren’t 15 such journals out there,” Keck said. “It’s unique and it has a very solid reputation, solid academic reputation and so I’m thrilled that George Washington is picking it up.”

Keck said the journal prepares professors to teach students pursuing any kind of “international work” in business and language classrooms.

“I thought there was a real need for language students to know something in addition to, you know, their literary terminology and all of that so that they could go out and work in industry and negotiate contracts and do all the things that business people do,” Keck said.

Maida Watson, a professor of Spanish at Florida International University and a former member of the Global Business Journal’s editorial board at Purdue, said the journal is free to access online and will positively impact the University because few publications focus on business languages.

“Business languages is a growing field as international business grows and grows,” Watson said in an email. “The prestige of this journal will give GW more visibility in this field and expand its international standing.”

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