The Catholic University of America

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Mission Statement of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures aspires to form global citizens who combine a strong sense of their own cultural and spiritual identity with an understanding of other cultures within the United States and around the world. By learning other languages as part of a liberal arts education, students acquire insight into other cultures and, in turn, are inspired to view their own culture in a new light.


As students deepen their understanding of language and culture, they develop the skills to express themselves thoughtfully and to appreciate and critically analyze a variety of cultural texts—from canonical works of literature to contemporary media—within their historical and political contexts. These skills enhance students’ understanding of other core disciplines at the Catholic University of America, prepare them for a wide variety of careers from teaching to national and international service. The faculty serves as a model of this cross-cultural inquiry and dialogue not only through their active and wide-ranging research, but also through their cultural diversity and first-hand experience with other cultures.


This education unfolds in the enriching context of Washington DC, with its ethnic diversity, international character, and wealth of cultural resources. Our students have the opportunity to engage in daily contact with other cultures through internships, community service, and visits to embassies and cultural institutions. They develop an ethos of service through multiple opportunities to interact with the community. Through close cooperation with the Center for Global Education, students are able to fully immerse themselves in another culture through a great variety of study abroad programs. 


By creating reflective, compassionate global citizens with an informed sense of moral and intellectual responsibility, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures supports the mission of The Catholic University of America, with its “concern for the whole person,” its emphasis on examining “human truth in depth and with authority,” and its aspiration to be “of special service to the nation” and the world. We are especially committed to fostering mutual understanding and communication among members of disparate groups by cultivating both sensitivity to cultural differences and awareness of what binds us together as human beings.








“This heavenly city, while it sojourns on earth, calls citizens out of all nations, and gathers together a society of pilgrims of all languages.” 

-St. Augustine