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Today is a Great Day to Celebrate Linguistic Diversity

Let's Celebrate Linguistic Diversity Today!

We can all celebrate linguistic diversity on International Mother Language Day today!

In 1999, the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared February 21st International Mother Language Day. It might sound like a day to think about the language we use with our mothers, but it’s a global celebration of multilingualism and linguistic and cultural diversity.

In our increasingly globalized world, it’s tempting to force everyone to use a lingua franca. That temptation is especially pressing for those of us who already speak English, one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. The problem, though, is that in encouraging a globalized language we lose the history and intricacies of the beautiful languages of the world!

International Mother Language Day is a great time to explore other languages and learn from our neighbors. Why not ask someone to teach you a few words in their mother tongue today?

“UNESCO supports mother language and multilingual education through International Mother Language Day (IMLD). The overall objective of the Day is to contribute to promoting Global Citizenship education.

The opening ceremony of the celebration will be held at UNESCO HQ on 21 February 2017. Promotional activities of mother language and multilingual education should be undertaken at the country level.

UNESCO will celebrate IMLD 2017 on the theme “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education.” The Day will be in line with “Education for People and the Planet: Creating Sustainable Futures for All,” theme of UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report on Education, 2016.
IMLD also supports Goal 4.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men, and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.’ ”

“The main purpose of celebrating this day is to promote the awareness of language and cultural diversity all across the world. It was first announced by UNESCO on November 17, 1999. Since then it is being celebrated every year. The date represented the day 21st February 1952 when four young students were killed in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, because of Bengali and Urdu language controversy. Languages are the most powerful way to preserve and develop culture and to promote it all across the world. Because of this unfortunate incident, International Mother Language Day is celebrated in all over the world, while it is a public holiday in Bangladesh.

In 1947 at the time of partition of Pakistan, the province Bengal was divided into two parts: the western part became India, and the eastern part is known as East Bengal which was later known as East Pakistan. At that time there were many economic, social and cultural issues including linguistic issue. In 1948 when the government announced Urdu as the national language it sparked the protest among the Bengali-speaking majority of Pakistan. The protest got out of control and ended with the death of four protestors of the University of Dhaka who was shot by the police. The students’ deaths during the fight for their mother language are now remembered as The International Mother Language Day.

The Shaheed Minar in Dhaka pays respect to those four protestors killed for the sake of their mother language. An International Mother Language Day monument was constructed at Ashfield Park in Sydney, Australia. Here we can see the images of Shaheed Minar and the globe on the face of the stone with the words “we will remember the martyr of 21st February” written on it in both Bengali and English languages.

On International Mother Language Day UNESCO and other UN agencies take part in the events to promote cultural and linguistic diversity all around the world. They appreciate and encourage people to be knowledgeable about their mother language and provide them with awareness regarding the promotion of their language and culture towards other countries. In Bangladesh on International, Mother Language Day people go to Shaheed Minar to pay tribute to the martyr of 21st February and sprinkle flowers on the monument. This is a time for Bangladeshis to celebrate their culture, traditions and their Bengali national language. The prizes are given to those who made an outstanding performance in language and cultural diversity.

International Mother Language Day is celebrated in memory of the four students who were killed while fighting for their mother language and is celebrated to tell them that we will never forget their sacrifices.”

The Maria Sanchez Show will celebrate International Mother Language Day with you in whatever language you speak! We hope you’ll also join us on our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PST/7:00 p.m. EST.


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