International Mother Language Day (IMLD) 2023 has been celebrated at the UN headquarters today for the 7th consecutive year. The Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Denmark, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Morocco, and Timor-Leste jointly organized the event in partnership with the UN Secretariat and UNESCO. The President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi graced the event as the Chief guest.
Like last year, the IMLD was celebrated with interpretation services in all six official languages of the United Nations, enabling the distinguished speakers to deliver their remarks in their mother tongue. The theme song of the IMLD (amar bhai-er rokterangano…) was presented by the Sri Chinmoy Group. The discussion was followed by a rich multi-cultural performance. It featured musical performances from the United Nations Chamber Music Society, Sneh Art of India, and a flute performance by Shilpokala Academy USA Inc. The event was telecast live on the U Web TV.
In his welcome remarks, the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith paid deep homage to the language martyrs for upholding the sanctity of Bangla in 1952, and to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for leading the language movement and the subsequent national movements culminating to our liberation in 1971. He recalled with gratitude the role of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in securing UNESCO’s recognition of 21st February as the international mother language day at the initiative of expatriate Bangladeshis and also in establishing the International Mother language Institute in Dhaka.
Ambassador Muhith thanked UNESCO for choosing this year’s theme-“Multilingual education–a necessity to transform education”. ‘Multilingual education inclusive of mother-tongue based learning can play an instrumental role in transforming the education system by underlining the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity, the relevance of learning to learners’ lives and mutual understanding’-he further added.
The Permanent Representative of Cuba in his capacity as the Chair of the Group of Friends on Spanish language and Chair of the NGO Committee on Language and Languages also spoke at the event.
The President of the General Assembly and all the other speakers thanked Bangladesh for its leadership in promoting multilingualism and mother tongues in the UN. They all recognized the potential role that multilingual education can play in transforming education for all. Speaking in their respective mother tongues, the speakers highlighted the critical importance of including the mother tongue in the education system worldwide.
The event venue was full of a significant number of Ambassadors, diplomats from different countries, high officials from the UN Secretariat, civil society, and Bangladeshi community representatives.
Earlier in the morning the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh observed Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day with due solemnity in the Mission’s premises. The Permanent Representative and the mission officials laid a floral wreath in the Shaheed Minar established in the mission. During the event, the messages of the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and State Minister for Foreign Affairs was delivered.