International Mother Language Day took place last Sunday, February 21, with its history traced back to 1999 when United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) first approved it at the General Conference. Since then, countries worldwide have been celebrating the festival, promoting “the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for societies” and the pursuit of “preserving the differences in cultures and languages that foster tolerance and respect for others.”
The theme for International Mother Language Day 2021 is Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society. Many countries, including Turkey, Pakistan, India, and the US, celebrated the festival by hosting discussion symposiums and cultural programs that promote global linguistic diversity. According to the UNESCO Director-General, we now live in a world where “40% of the world’s inhabitants do not have access to education in the language they speak or understand best.” This lack of educational resources remains a crucial problem to tackle as it “hinders their learning, as well as their access to heritage and cultural expressions.” To further advance inclusion and education following the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), it is necessary to promote foundational quality education based on mother tongue from early years. And the spread of awareness can start from here.
(picture source: ontaheen)