[EDLING:1265] International Mother Language Day: 21 February

Francis M. Hult fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Wed Feb 22 01:14:17 UTC 2006

International Mother Language Day 

21 February 

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by UNESCO's General 
Conference in November 1999. The International Day has been observed every 
year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and 

Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our 
tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of 
mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and 
multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and 
cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on 
understanding, tolerance and dialogue. 

International Mother Language Day 2006 will be devoted to the topic of 
languages and cyberspace.

For more information visit:


On the occasion of the sixth International Mother Language Day, 
celebrated 21 February, UNESCO is organizing a conference on linguistic 
diversity*. Participants will include: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former 
President of the Republic of Iceland and Goodwill Ambassador of the 
Organization, Adama Samassekou, President of the African Academy of 
Languages, Vittorio Bo, President of Codice (Italy) and Daniel Prado, 
Director of the Terminology and Language Industries Department of the 
Latin Union (Room IV, from 10 am to 6 pm). The conference will be opened 
by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, Musa Bin Jaafar Bin 
Hassan, President of the General Conference, and Zhang Xinsheng, 
President of the Executive Board of the Organization.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir will discuss the impact of the disappearance of 
languages, which is the subject of a documentary film, In Languages We 
Live – Voices of the World (Denmark 2005), made at her initiative. 
Directed by Billeskov Jansen and Signe Byrge Sørensen, the film treats 
the issue through a number of individual stories.

The documentary film screening will be followed by the presentation of a 
number of initiatives for the protection of linguistic diversity. 
Vittorio Bo will talk about the City of the Word project for a museum 
dedicated to languages soon be established in Italy. This project is an 
initiative of Codice, an association which creates and manages cultural 
research projects (_http://www.codicecultura.it_).

Adama Samassekou will present the activities of the African Academy of 
Languages, which was recently instituted as an organ of the African 
Union (AU), entrusted with developing continent-wide programmes 
(_http://www.acalan.org_). The AU has proclaimed 2006 as the Year of 
African languages.

Daniel Prado will present the results of the survey about 
multilingualism recently carried out by the Latin Union, an institution 
dedicated to the promotion of the common heritage and identities of the 
Latin world (_http://www.unilat.org_).

International Mother Language Day is celebrated every year on 21 
February to promote the recognition and practice of the mother languages 
of the world, and especially those of minorities. It was proclaimed in 
1999 during the 30th session of UNESCO General Conference.

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