21 February 2023
International Mother Language Day is celebrated every year on the 21st of February and the purpose of this day is to raise awareness of language, cultural diversity and multilingualism around the world.
This Year’s International Mother Language Day
The theme for 2023 is “multilingual education—a necessity to transform education
The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh. It was approved at the 1999 UNESCO General Conference and has been observed throughout the world since 2000.
UNESCO believes in the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for sustainable societies. It is within its mandate for peace that it works to preserve the differences in cultures and languages that foster tolerance and respect for others.
Multilingual and multicultural societies exist through their languages which transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures in a sustainable way.
Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages disappear
Globally 40 per cent of the population does not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Nevertheless, progress is being made in multilingual education with growing understanding of its importance, particularly in early schooling, and more commitment to its development in public life.
This is also the aim of this International Day: celebrating these ways of expressing the world in its multiplicity, committing to the preservation of the diversity of languages as a common heritage, and working for quality education – in mother tongues – for all.