Languages are an irreplaceable tool for sustainability; each and every one
conveys a different pattern of thoughts and worldviews. The realisation of
sustainable development depends on linguistic diversity and
multilingualism and the contribution it makes to global citizenship
education as it promotes intercultural encounters and better ways of
Linguistic diversity is increasingly threatened as more and more languages
disappear. One language disappears on average every two weeks, taking with
it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. Protecting linguistic
diversity is a challenge. With regard to multilingual education based on
mother tongue or first language, progress is being made. Overall, there is
a better perception of mother tongues, more commitment to their
development in public life, and more measures taken to ensure mother
tongue education in the early years of schooling.
International Mother Language Day is celebrated on the 21st of February
every year. The UNESCO aimed to put a strong emphasis on the linguistic
diversity on the earth and how it shapes cultural groups everywhere.
Therefore they announced International Mother Language Day in 1999 and it
got established in 2008, the International Year of Languages by the United
Nations General Assembly.
On the occasion of International Mother Language Day 2018, UNESCO
reiterates its commitment to linguistic diversity and invites its Member
States to celebrate the day in as many languages as possible as a reminder
that linguistic diversity and multilingualism are essential for
This year, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and we welcome its translation into more than
500 languages. Its Article 2 states “Everyone is entitled to all the
rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of
any kind, such as race, colour, sex and language.
We live in multilingual and multicultural societies with multilingual
citizens. We exist through our languages; it is through language we
express ourselves, we communicate, we participate in social and public
life, and we transmit traditional knowledge, knowledge and cultures in a
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe that multilingual
education facilitates access to education while promoting equity for
populations speaking minority and/or indigenous languages. It emphasises
the quality of teaching and learning process with more focuses on mutual
understanding, respect and sustainability of cultural heritage.Moreover,
it facilitates participation and tolerance in society by giving access to
cultural expressions, and therefore, ensuring a harmonious interaction
between the global and the local.
Let us promote the preservation and protection of all languages!
Happy International Mother Language Day!