The International Mother Language Day, 21 February 2023

International Mother Language day 2023 Unesco 21 february

International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February. The Unesco Day promotes awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.

The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh, where the date is the anniversary of the day when the people of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) fought for recognition for the Bangla language. It was approved at the 1999 Unesco General Conference and has been observed throughout the world since 2000.

Linguistic diversity is suffering from languages disappearing

In the world the 40% 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 and more commitment to its development in public life. Multilingual and multicultural societies exist through their languages, which transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures in a sustainable way.

The International Mother Language Day in 2023

The 2023 edition will focus on the theme of “multilingual education – a necessity to transform education”.

Multilingual education based on mother language facilitates access to and inclusion in learning for population groups that speak non-dominant, indigenous and of minority groups languages. The event organized by Unesco on 21 February will explore and debate on the potential of multilingualism to transform education from a lifelong learning perspective and in different contexts. The discussions will be based around the following three themes:

  • Enhancing multilingual education as a necessity to transform education in multilingual contexts from early childhood education and well beyond
  • Supporting learning through multilingual education and multilingualism
  • Revitalizing languages that are disappearing or are threatened with extinction

Visit the web page of the International Mother Language Day on Unesco site and download the documents.

Download here the poster of the event