UVU to celebrate International Mother Language Day
Utah Valley University will celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity and inclusion this week.
The UVU Office for Global Engagement and the Department of Language and Cultures will host a celebration for the annual International Mother Language Day on Wednesday.
International Mother Language Day is observed annually on Feb. 21 and is intended to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity. International Mother Language Day was created by Bangladesh and was first announced by UNESCO on Nov. 17, 1999, in order to commemorate the anniversary of the people of Bangladesh’s fight for recognition of their Bangla language.
The celebration will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ragan Theater on UVU’s Orem Campus, and guests will be able to enjoy music and dance performances in various languages, as well as refreshments. Astrid S. Tuminez, UVU president, will be the celebration’s keynote speaker.
“We are celebrating to show respect and the importance for diversity and inclusion at home and abroad,” Sayeed Sajal, assistant professor of computer science at UVU, said in a press release. “Everyone is included because everybody has a mother tongue. If you speak in English, Spanish or any other language you are included.”
A replica of the Shaheed Minar, a national monument located in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to commemorate those lost during the Bengali Language Movement demonstrations of 1952, is being built for the celebration.
According to Sajal, this celebration is two-fold. It is a way for individuals to celebrate their own mother languages, while also recognizing those who fought for the privilege of linguistic diversity.
“The main message for this event is that we all are different in culture and language, but we all are human beings,” Sajal said. “We should acknowledge how blessed we are. We can talk in our own mother tongue without any problem. But people fight for it. And when you think about it, you feel more blessed.”