October 18-20, 2019

Fukuoka, Japan



Richard Simcott — Founder & Lead Organizer

Richard Simcott, a polyglot from Chester, Great Britain, is a lifelong language learner who has studied more than 50 languages. HarperCollins has described him as one of the most multilingual people in the United Kingdom, and the Goethe-Institut has named him Ambassador for Multilingualism.

Richard manages a team of polyglots as the Languages Director at social media management agency The Social Element. He has many years of consulting experience using languages with diverse clients and offering his expertise on multilingual and multinational projects.

He is the original founder of the Polyglot Conference and manages a popular Facebook page called Speaking Fluently.

Tim Keeley - Local Organiser

Tim Keeley has a strong passion for experiencing diverse languages and cultures. Tim discovered that being a student was a great way to pursue this passion so he ended up studying at 8 universities around the globe and his areas of study include Business Administration (USA), Latin American Literature (Colombia), International Relations (Switzerland), Slavic Literature (Poland), Chinese Literature (Japan) and Cross-Cultural Management (Australia). He is presently a professor of Cross-Cultural Management at Kyushu Sangyo University and Kyushu University in Japan, where he mainly teaches in Japanese but also enjoys the opportunity to use Chinese, Thai, Nepali and Vietnamese with his foreign students. He has also taught management in EMBA programs in Shanghai, Taipei, and Bangkok.

Alex Rawlings

Alex Rawlings is a language specialist, polyglot and writer with a website called RawLangs. He was born and raised in London, where he currently lives, and is of Greek descent. Alex’s book “How To Speak Any Language Fluently” will be published in June 2017. He also writes prolifically on languages and language learning, and has contributed to blogs run by the British Council, Memrise, the European Commission and others. He has also worked on language course creation with LanguagePod101 and Mango languages.

He currently works as the Language Learner in Residence for a language learning startup called Memrise.

Alex was named Britain’s most multilingual student in 2012 after being tested for fluency in 11 languages and winning a nationwide competition run by the publisher Harper Collins. Since then he has regularly participated in major media campaigns to support the cause of language learning in the UK and worldwide.

Alexander Arguelles - Programme Co-ordinator and Academic Liaison

Alexander Arguelles was reared and has roots in New York City, Chicago, and Berkeley, California.  He studied French and German literature as an undergraduate at Columbia and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago with a dissertation on Old Norse literature and the comparative history of religions.  He then did postdoctoral research in Germany on a fellowship from the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies.

Alexander has worked as a language specialist for the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization in Singapore and as professor at universities in Korea, Lebanon, and the U.S.  He is currently a professor in the college of education at the American University in the Emirates in Dubai.

Alexander is the author of an English French Spanish German Dictionary and of numerous publications in Korean linguistics such as A Historical, Literary, and Cultural Approach to the Korean Language, A Handbook of Korean Verbal Conjugation, and a North Korean Reader.  Having devoted his life to studying as many languages as possible as systematically as possible, he has been the subject of investigative studies into polyglottery such as Michael Erard’s Babel No More.

Chris Taylor - Local Partner Liaison

Chris Taylor is a language learning enthusiast from the United Kingdom. He recently returned to the UK to learn his mother tongue, Welsh, basing himself in North Wales. Chris was previously seconded by the UK Government’s Stabilisation Unit to the European Union (EU) Monitoring Mission in Georgia where he led a Human Security team in Western Georgia on the administrative boundary line with Abkhazia. He previously worked for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mission to Serbia as a Political Officer. Chris is also an international election observer primarily with the OSCE and EU but also Democracy Volunteers in the UK and has been involved in the observation or technical assistance on approximately 20 elections across the world from Ecuador to Bangladesh.

Chris worked as a project manager for the UK National Agency for the Leonardo da Vinci programme and its successor, the EU Lifelong Learning programme, prior to becoming an external assessor for the programme over the last 10 years; he currently works as an external expert on the youth, vocational education and training, schools and adult education strands of the EU Erasmus+ programme. He has worked, volunteered, studied and travelled to more than 60 countries. He has lived for periods in Croatia, Denmark, Spain and Wales and passed language exams in the language of each country.

Katherine Li

Katherine Li is an avid language enthusiast who believes in the power of languages to connect people and spread knowledge and ideas.

Born in Shanghai and brought up in post-apartheid South Africa, Katherine was fortunate to grow up in a multilingual environment. She spoke Shanghainese and Mandarin at home with her parents while using English, Afrikaans, French and Zulu at school. 

 Having graduated in Australia with degrees in French, Spanish, and Accounting, Katherine’s languages afforded her extensive travel opportunities. She has studied abroad on scholarships in Canada, USA, France and Switzerland, and was also invited to attend the first Global French Language Forum in Québec in 2012 as a sponsored delegate, and volunteered at an NGO in Argentina. 

She even has her Spanish skills to thank for landing her dream job at British Airways in London, where she became a bilingual bridge of sorts between her English- and Spanish-speaking colleagues. It was also there that she took the initiative to start learning Catalan and Polish auto-didactically. Katherine was determined to highlight the importance of languages in a multi-national business. 

Her passion ultimately led her to discover an entire community of people like her at the Polyglot Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece in 2016 – an event which has since inspired her to take her Chartered Accountant hat off in favour of assisting in the organisation of this conference.