The year is 1952, the streets of Dhaka are filled with picket sign wielding students. They ask for one thing and one thing only; for the recognition of their language Bangla as one of the two national languages of then ruled by Pakistan, currently known as Bangladesh. Those students were shot and killed by the police. 21st February 2013 marks the fourteenth year commemorating these students from the University of Dhaka and Dhaka Medical College who peacefully demonstrated that day. Since February 2000, the International Mother Language Day has been observed worldwide for the purpose of promoting, preserving and protecting all languages used by the peoples of the world.
In an ever changing world, barriers are broken down and cultures merged, we look to language as an instrument for preserving and developing heritage. Mother tongues are equivalent to other tangible heritages as they contain immeasurable historical values which clearly indicate linguistic diversity and variety of cultural traditions throughout the world.
Such valuable and intangible heritages have to be preserved and protected against the linguistic extinction especially those languages listed by UNESCO as endangered languages of the world. Realizing the importance of diversified mother tongues, many movements have been initiated in order to raise awareness toward diversification of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world.
Here in World Assembly of Youth (WAY), we look to promote the issue as well as encourage linguistic diversity and multicultural education. We greatly encourage all society especially young people to appreciate their and other languages. Mother tongue instruction is vital for everyone to enjoy their right to quality education and key to reducing discrimination, promoting inclusion and improving learning outcomes for all.
We turn to you, the youth and task you with bringing more awareness to linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world. Let us celebrate this day with the intention to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.