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International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day

Eliis, which has got subsidiaries dispatched all over the globe, is particularly sensitive to the subtlety of different languages. Indeed, the multicultural approach offers a particularly rich range of words and nuances. From Rio to Kuala Lumpur, from Houston to Dubai, from Perth to Montpellier, each geologist and software engineer thinks in his or her native language and brings a personal touch that enriches everyone. The PaleoScan seismic interpretation software and the quality of the technical support provided by Eliis geoscientists are largely the result of this multilingualism and diversity of languages and cultures.

Announced for the first time by UNESCO in November 1999 and then adopted by the UN in 2002, the International Mother Language Day’s objective is to preserve and protect all the languages used around the world. The idea of this celebration comes from Bangladesh which fought in 1947 for the recognition of the Bengali language during the creation of Pakistan. The country encompassed two geographically distinct parts known as East Pakistan and West Pakistan. Their language and culture were extremely different. In 1948, Dhirendranath Datta of East Pakistan petitioned the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan to make Bengali at least one of the national languages in addition to Urdu. The refusal was categorical and the protests were suppressed in blood.  

Then in 1999, after the creation of Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi linguist Rafiqul Islam presented a formal proposal to the country's parliament, which submitted it to UNESCO. On November 17, 1999, the 30th General Assembly of UNESCO unanimously decided to proclaim February 21 as "International Mother Language Day” throughout the world to commemorate the martyrs who sacrificed their lives on this very day in 1952.

Bangladeshis celebrate this day every year by visiting the Shaheed Minar, a monument built in memory of the martyrs.

International days and weeks raise awareness among the public and political representatives of global issues that require strong and timely commitment. The International Decade of the World's Indigenous Languages (2022-2032) must guarantee the right of indigenous peoples to preserve and promote their languages. This will revitalize global dialogue on important issues, including science.

Today, everyone recognizes the importance of different languages and their semantic acuity in enhancing dialogue among peoples and in promoting cultural, educational, scientific, technological and economic development.

Multilingual education has become a necessity to transform education. With 40% of the world's population not having access to an education in the language they speak or understand, the theme of the 2023 edition is "Multilingual education, a necessity for transforming education". It is based on three major axes:

- Strengthening multilingual education from early childhood;

- Supporting Multilingual Learning in Constantly Changing Global Contexts and in Situations of Crisis;

- Revitalizing endangered and threatened languages.

Globalization threatens 43% of the 6,000 languages spoken in the world. Every two weeks a language disappears, taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. Only a few hundred languages have a real place in the educational systems and in the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world. An impoverishment that affects us all. 

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