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Bangladesh lauded at UN for leadership in promoting mother language, multilingualism globally

  • Published at 05:55 pm February 23rd, 2021
Shaheed Dibosh 2021 Central Shaheed Minar International Mother Language Day
The Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka adorned with flowers from people of all walks who paid tribute to the 1952 Language Movement martyrs on Sunday, February 21, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Rabab Fatima paid deep homage to the language martyrs who made supreme sacrifices in upholding the sanctity of Bangla in 1952.

President of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir has acknowledged Bangladesh’s distinct role in the proclamation of International Mother Language Day by the UN and also lauded Bangladesh for its leadership in promoting the importance of mother language and multilingualism globally.

Bozkir was addressing an event at the UN Headquarters in New York marking the International Mother Language Day (IMLD) on Monday. 

The President of the UN General Assembly thanked Bangladesh Permanent Mission for leading the observance of IMLD at the UN. 

The event was co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Jordan, Lithuania, and New Zealand to the UN. 

Organized for the 5th consecutive year, the event was also co-sponsored by the UN Secretariat and Unesco. Due to the Covid-19 related restrictions the event was held virtually and telecast on UN Web TV. 

The president of the General Assembly attended the event and delivered his remarks. 

Along with the permanent representatives of the co-organizing countries, the UN Coordinator for Multilingualism and the Under Secretary General of the UN Department of Global Communications shared their thoughts. 

A prerecorded video statement from the director general of Unesco and a message from the mayor of New York was presented during the event. 

The permanent representative of Portugal in his capacity as the Chair of the Group of Friends on Spanish language also spoke at the event.  

Permanent Representative (PR) of Bangladesh to the UN Ambassador Rabab Fatima made the welcome remarks and moderated the event.

Homage to language martyrs

She paid deep homage to the language martyrs who made supreme sacrifices in upholding the sanctity of Bangla in 1952. 

“Their sacrifice eventually led to Bangla being given the status of State language," said the ambassador. 

She also paid rich tribute to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Ambassador Fatima thanked the expatriate Bangladeshis whose initiatives led to the proclamation by Unesco of 21 February as the International Mother Language Day. 

She acknowledged with gratitude the crucial role played by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in this regard, and also for establishing the International Mother Language Institute in Dhaka for the preservation of the nearly extinct languages of the world. 

She reiterated the prime minister’s proposal to include Bangla as one of the official languages of the UN.

The speakers in their statements highlighted the importance of multilingualism particularly in the context of Covid-19 pandemic and stressed that preservation of linguistic and cultural diversities as a means of education and communications have become more urgent now than ever. 

They expressed support for using mother languages to promote understanding, tolerance, dialogue and social inclusion as the catalysts for sustainable development and realizing the 2030 Agenda.

Cultural performance

The event included a multilingual cultural component. 

The UN Chamber Music society brought together three performances from different regions in the world, showcasing the power of music in promoting linguistic and cultural diversities. 

The performances included an opera from South Africa in an extinct language called Khosa, an instrumental by a French performer and a tribute to Tagore by a Japanese artist.

In addition to that the theme song of the IMLD and language martyrs’ day, “amar bhaiyer rokte rangano ekhushey february” was performed in multiple languages by the students of the Asian University for Women. 

The celebration ended with a short video message in 38 different languages from the students of United Nations International School.

The virtual event was full to its capacity with the presence of senior diplomats of a large number of member states, UN officials, media personalities and civil society representatives.

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