Language is the mother of thought and February 21 is the International Day of Mother Language

Language is the mother of thought and February 21 is the International Day of Mother Language
21 Feb

The Kurdish text on the banner reads: learn, speak and think in Kurdish (photo: facebook)

“Our mother tongue, Kurdish language is our national identity; thus its preservation, authenticity and development are our utmost duty.” PDKI statement (Kurdish) on the occasion of International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day has been celebrated every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. UNESCO highlights the importance of mother tongue as part of the right to education and encourages its member states to promote instruction and education in the mother tongue.


Why International Mother Language Day?

Linguistic and cultural diversity represent universal values that strengthen the unity and cohesion of societies. The recognition of the importance of linguistic diversity led to UNESCO’s decision to celebrate International Mother Language Day.


When was it launched?

The 30th session of the General Conference of UNESCO in 1999 decided that the Organization would launch and observe an International Mother Language Day on 21 February every year throughout the world.


What does it celebrate?

International Mother Language Day’s objective is to promote linguistic diversity and multilingual education, and to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.


Who is involved?

UNESCO’s Director-General launches the celebration and gives the orientation, but it is the Member States worldwide who are the key players through their national institutions and associations. As well as widespread media interest, schools, universities and cultural associations play an active part in promoting the goals of International Mother Language Day.



Editorials for IMLD

In Iran both the regime of Pahlavi Monarchy and the so-called Islamic government have treated multilingualism as a threat to the country’s territorial integrity and national unity, restricted the use of non-Persian languages, and lastly, both have promoted the supremacy of Persian as a venue for unifying the ethnically and linguistically heterogeneous body politic.
The Iranian Kurdish dreams of self-rule is long overdue; nonetheless, the right to education in one’s native language is so fundamental that even the current regime must and can afford to provide, and the international community must and can press Iran on the issue at every venue and opportunity available, especially at UNESCO where Iran is a member state.

Please read my full article on Iran’s discriminator language policy at the link provided below and further links on the subject matter are listed below it as well:

Iran’s single language policy is blowing in the wrong direction



National, ethnic, religious and linguistic minority rights in Iran, 20 years after its adoption at the UN


Source: UNESCO

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