International Mother Language Day celebrated tomorrow20/02/2012 09:04
Feb. 20 (AKnews) - The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is gearing up to celebrate International Mother Language Day tomorrow, a global observance to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity.
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by UNESCO's general conference in November 1999 and has been celebrated since 2000 to promote all the languages of the world.
"The language of our thoughts and our emotions is our most valuable asset," said director general of UNESCO Irina Bokova. "Multilingualism is our ally in ensuring quality education for all, in promoting inclusion and in combating discrimination. Building genuine dialogue must start with respect for languages."
This 13th celebration is dedicated to multilingualism for inclusive education.
"The work of researchers and the impact of multilingualism policies have shown that people perceive intuitively that linguistic diversity accelerates work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and Education for All goals in particular," continued Bokova. "Use of the mother tongue at school is a powerful remedy against illiteracy.
"The challenge remains, however, to ensure this truth is actually acted on in the classroom. Excluded population groups, such as indigenous peoples, are often those whose mother tongues are ignored by education systems. Allowing them to learn from a very early age in their mother tongue, and then in national, official or other languages, promotes equality and social inclusion."
According to UNESCO figures, nearly half of the 6,000 plus languages spoken in the world could die out by the end of the century.
"Each language conveys cultural heritage in ways that increase our creative diversity," added Bokova. "Cultural diversity is as important as biological diversity in nature, and they're closely linked."
February 21 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.
Last year tens of thousands of Kurds held a demonstration in Diyarbakir, Turkey, to mark the occasion. Kurds also held events in the Hakkari and Van regions. An estimated 16 million people speak Kurdish across the world.
The news follows demands from the Kurdish Blocs Coalition that Kurdish should be used alongside Arabic in institutions, departments and schools in Diyala.