International Mother Language Day 2015 Celebrations

UNESCO declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day (IMLD) and since 2000, it has been observed throughout the world.  21 February is the anniversary of a most memorable day in Bangladesh’s history; it is a national day to commemorate protests and sacrifices to protect Bangla (Bengali) as a national language during the Bengali Language Movement of 1952. Bangladesh used to be Eastern Pakistan. When the Pakistan government declared Urdu as the sole national language in 1948, disregarding Bangla which was the language of the majority, protests were undertaken throughout the Bengali-speaking population.  On 21 February 1952, students at the University of Dhaka (which was like the UP of Eastern Pakistan) organized a protest which resulted with the police opening fire and the consequent deaths of four students. Later, after a series of strife and tension, in 1971, that part of Pakistan obtained its independence and became what we now know as Bangladesh.  In early 1999, two Bangladeshi members of an organization called “Mother Language Lovers of the World” in Canada proposed the UNESCO to declare 21st February as an International Mother Language Day.  This enabled UNESCO to adopt the historic resolution in the long run.

In the Resolution 12 of UNESCO's 30th General Conference 1999, it states…recognizing the need to improve understanding and communication among peoples….Also recognizing the great importance of safeguarding the linguistic and cultural heritage of humanity and extending the influence of each of the cultures and languages of which that heritage is composed...Considering the current threat to linguistic diversity posed by the globalization of communication and the tendency to use a single language, at the risk of marginalizing the other major languages of the world, or even of causing the lesser-used languages, including regional languages, to disappear…

The Resolution recommends that Member States:
(a)  create the conditions for a social, intellectual and media environment of an international character which is conducive to linguistic pluralism;

(b)  promote, through multilingual education, democratic access to knowledge for all citizens, whatever their mother tongue, and build linguistic pluralism

DepEd Memo on IMLD celebrationhttp://www.deped.gov.ph/.../files/memo/2011/DM_s2011_019.pdf

We are holding a modest celebration of IMLD at the College of Education, UP, Diliman.

  • Australia - The Research Centre for Languages and Cultures and the University of South Australia and the South Australian Government’s Multicultural Education Committee are jointly hosting an event in observance of  IMLD 2015. The public lecture will be about the nature of the problems in contemporary language politics and in attempting to formulate new directions for a politics of language in a notion of Linguistic Citizenship that addresses issues of social, economic and political injustice for marginalized populations of minority or non-dominant language speakers. Please find all information, including how to register in the attached flyer.
  • Pakistan – Institute for Education and Development is planning to have a seminar in Peshawar Pakistan on Feb 21 regarding the languages spoken in this part of Pakistan.
  • U.S.A –Language and Peacebuilding symposium in Washington, DC. How do issues of language, language complexity, and communication play out in peace-building efforts and ongoing security? How can language issues be identified and addressed effectively in policy planning and execution? Drawing on relevant scholarship and experience, these questions will be addressed through a combination of keynote address and a lively panel discussion. For further information and registration please check: http://www.allianceforpeacebuilding.org/event/2015/02/language-policy-and-peacebuilding/ 
  • Kenya - The MLE Network of Kenya is holding an event at the University of Nairobi which will include a panel discussion with Kenyan academics and language experts.
  • Congo - SIL and Shalom University of Bunia will be holding two half-day conferences on February 20th and 21st. Activities will include presentations from eleven researchers involved with the region’s languages as well as speeches from academics and the public officials about the value of the mother tongue. The event will be featured on local radio stations. 
  • Canada – Punjabi Language Teachers Association of Canada will organize an event to share information about the continuous efforts to have Punjabi language education British Columbia’s public schools, colleges and universities. Please see attached file for further information.
  • Nepal - Nepal Academy and UNESCO Office in Kathmandu will organize 2 days (20-21 February) event to celebrate upcoming IMLD. The celebration will be joined by Ministry of Education, Tribhuvan University and civil society organizations in Nepal. The event will include presentations on language situation in Nepal, MTB MLE policy and practices, role of UNESCO in promoting MLE, creative writings in mother tongues and other MLE- related initiatives
  • Turkey – There will be an “International Conference on Multilingual Education and Development, Focus on Turkey” on 19 February 2015 in Antalya, Turkey. Please check the conference website: http://amuseturk2015.org/ for more information.
  • New Zealand – Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Aotearoa New Zealand (TESOLANZ) is running IMLD Campaign “Say Hi on Mother Tongue Day!” Greet your whānau, friends, colleagues and neighbours in their mother tongue to celebrate International Mother Language Day. Phone, send an email, text, or call over the back fence to say ‘Hi’ in their mother tongue. Please see attached poster for your information.
  • Uganda -  As part of its local language education promotion in remote communities, Ugandan NGO Literacy and Adult Basic Education (LABE) will mark International Mother Language Day in each of the 6 post-conflict districts in Northern Uganda where it works.  Activities will include dissemination of a newly developed Kakwa language orthography in Koboko District, community-level reading and storytelling competitions in the other districts and producing a supplement in the Luo language newspaper highlighting this year’s Theme.

IMLD 2015 Infographic

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