International Mother Language Day is observed every year on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62), and has been celebrated across the world since Feb 2000.

This year’s Feb 21st marks the thirteenth International Mother Language Day.

The date represents the day in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.

The theme of this year’s International Mother Language day is “Mother tongue instruction and inclusive education”. UNESCO highlights the importance of mother tongue as part of the right to education and encourages its member states to promote instruction and education in the mother tongue.

Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. The objective of the International Mother Language Day is to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education, and to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

International Mother Language Day – UNESCO
International Mother Language Day – United Nations Observance Page

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