News Archive

International Mother Language Day remembered on campus

The Bangladesh Student Organization celebrated International Mother Language Day Feb. 21 with a ceremonial march from the Mary and John Gray Library to the Setzer Center quadrangle. The students and visitors placed wreaths of flowers at the Language Martyr’s Monument, erected by the students for the annual ceremony.

International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.  It was first announced by UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.

International Mother Language Day originated as the international recognition of Language Movement Day, which has been commemorated in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) since 1952, when a number of university students were killed by the Pakistani police and army in Dhaka during the Bengali Language Movement. This is the only recognized event where people are remembered for giving their life to keep the independence of using their mother language.

“There is a monument to commemorate their sacrifice named the Language Martyr's Monument (Shahid Minar) in Dhaka University, Bangladesh,” said Kumer Das, associate professor for mathematics.  “This is a very important day for the people of Bangladesh. Many foreigners visit Bangladesh to experience the way of Bangladeshi people give respect to those brave hearts. There is more than one Language Martyr's Monument in other countries around the world.”

There is growing awareness that languages play a vital role in development, in ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.  Language is critical in strengthening cooperation and attaining quality education for all and preserving cultural heritage.