This past week – February 21 – International Mother Language Day was recognized around the world. This special day is held annually to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
UNESCO first recognized International Mother Language Day in November of 1999. When this day was first proclaimed, its goal was to, “…promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.” The day was first observed on February 21, 2000. This day was chosen in recognition of students who were shot and killed in 1952 while protesting for their language of Bangla to be recognized as a national language of Pakistan.
This year, the theme for International Mother Language Day was, “Inclusion in and through education: Language counts.” The main goal of this statement to ensure that all languages and cultures have equally opportunity for learning, and that no one is left out or given a lesser chance.