Speakers at Washington Webinar calls for preserving linguistic diversity for human dignity
Washington, 22 February 2021:
Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, D.C. Sunday organized a Webinar marking the observance of the International Mother Language Day with the theme “Fostering Multilingualism in Education and Society.”
Bangladesh Ambassador to the U.S.A. M Shahidul Islam made welcome remarks, saying 21st February is an important milestone in Bangladesh’s national history.
He said this year the day has assumed more significance, as Bangladesh celebrates the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the 50th Anniversary of her glorious independence.
The Ambassador said UNESCO’s proclamation recognizing February 21 as International Mother Language Day has added a new dimension of cultural-linguistic diversity as well as multilingualism to this historic day in a spirit of ‘unity in diversity’.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said UNESCO has launched an initiative to translate more than 6,000 books in over 100 languages to enrich its world digital library which already offers free access to thousands of books, manuscripts, pictures and documents from across the world.
Audrey Azoulay said UNESCO will celebrate a decade of indigenous languages from 2022 through 2032. She appreciated the commitments to this effect made by Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, and Jordan.
She preservation and protection of linguistic diversity is essential for human dignity. Quoting English philosopher Roger Beacon, she said knowledge of languages is the doorstep to wisdom.
Director-General of International Mother Language Institute, Bangladesh Prof. Dr. JinnatImtiaz Ali delivered a keynote address.
Ambassador Marcia Bernicat, Senior Official for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment and Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the State Department, ShafiulAlam, former Cabinet Secretary and Alternate Executive Director, World Bank Group, and former U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Harry K Thomas participated in the panel and open discussion.
The hour-long Webinar was moderated by Minister and Deputy Chief of the Mission at Bangladesh Embassy Ferdousi Shahriar.