Every year on February 21, the world celebrates International Mother Language Day to encourage linguistic, cultural, and multilingualism. The aim of the celebrations is to preserve traditional knowledge and cultures through sustainable methods and support multilingualism in societies.
The theme of the 2023 International Mother Language Day, “Multilingual education a necessity to transform education” aligns with recommendations made during the Transforming Education Summit, where an emphasis was also placed on Indigenous people’s education and languages.
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999. The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh. The UN General Assembly welcomed the proclamation of the day in its resolution of 2002.
On 16 May 2007 the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/61/266 called upon Member States “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. By the same resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism and named the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to serve as the lead agency for the Year.