University language officer scoops prestigious Scottish Gaelic Award

Fiona Dunn, Gaelic Language Officer at the University of Glasgow, has won the prestigious Workplace Initiative Award at the inaugural Scottish Gaelic Awards, announced last night (20 November).

Fiona is the University of Glasgow’s first Gaelic Language Officer (GLO) and has overseen a transformation of attitudes and of Gaelic usage at the University.

In 2009 Fiona established the Gaelic Language Initiative (GLI) that aims to promote Gaelic language and culture throughout the University. A particular focus is helping young speakers to maintain their use of Gaelic in informal and formal settings outside the classroom.

The GLI at Glasgow is arguably the single most pioneering and successful non-academic Gaelic initiative ever to have taken place in third-level education in Scotland.

Fiona’s widely recognised success is witnessed by the fact that similar posts have now been established at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig/UHI, and the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh. 

Fiona said: “I am delighted to accept this Scottish Gaelic Workplace Initiative Award. It has been a great pleasure to work with such a dedicated team of both staff and students at the University of Glasgow and rewarding to see Gaelic go from strength to strength both within the University and across Scotland.”

Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Professor of Gaelic and Head of the School of Humanities at the University of Glasgow, said:  “This award is well deserved recognition for the outstanding work that Fiona has done to promote the Gaelic language and culture within the University of Glasgow and beyond. Fiona has exceptional vision and passion for Gaelic language development and has an outstanding performance and track record; she has had a transformative effect in Glasgow University, in Glasgow city and much further afield. She is an outstanding model for young Gaels.”

Whilst in the post of GLO at the University of Glasgow, Fiona has established Scotland’s first and still unique Gaelic Residency Scheme for Gaelic-speaking students, organises Career Days for students seeking employment in the Gaelic world and she co-ordinates the national Gaelic Summer School.

Fiona was responsible for the creation and implementation of the University’s first ever 5-year Gaelic Plan and Gaelic Language Day. She has also been a driving force behind various Gaelic-focussed outreach activities, language classes and events. She has organised the University’s second Gaelic Language Day / Latha na Gàidhlig which will take place this Friday (22 Nov).

For more information please contact Nick Wade, Media Relations Officer, University of Glasgow: 01413307126 or

First published: 21 November 2013