Like the CIPSH and UNESCO itself, the FILLM has throughout its history shared the same problems of identity and function as all the large overarching international bodies which during the 20th century came into existence with the dual aim of representing a particular human need or academic discipline at a global level, and thereby at the same time facilitating international communication and understanding of their subject-area among professionals and laymen alike.
In the course of a perennial debate at the Bureau of the FILLM held at the time of the 21st International Congress in Harare in July 1999 which touched, as often in such deliberations, on the role of the FILLM vis-a-vis its member-associations, it was suggested that a future meeting should be accompanied by a short colloquium at which an officer of each association might survey the history, structure, activities, aspirations, function, and problems of associations dealing with humanistic, non-utilitarian disciplines, and that the resulting papers might form the basis of a brief publication.
Its intention is to present readers with an overview of the astonishingly wide and diverse range of activities which make up the very heterogeneous forms of academic engagement in the modern languages and literatures at the present time, and the manner in which these independent societies, international by definition through their membership of the FILLM, stimulate original research through their international conferences, maintain the standards of that research through an ongoing process of criticism and review, and publish the findings of research in a large number of internationally acclaimed journals and monograph series.
Towards the achievement of its aims, the Association will establish contacts with institutions and individuals interested in Hungarian studies; hold scholarly lectures, discussions, conferences and congresses; contribute to the support of the specialized work of scholars and teachers in the specified disciplines through the involvement of Hungarian higher education institutions and research centres; report on international achievements in the specified disciplines in periodical publications which appear regularly; and maintain contact with international organizations as a member of the FILLM
But let me first of all emphasize the importance of its presence and participation in FILLM.
Given all these characteristics, the Modern Language Association of America could be regarded as a microcosm and a model of everything that the FILLM also endeavours to be, more internationally.
The relationships between the MLA and the FILLM have varied over time.