(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) Languages are powerful tools in protecting and developing our tangible and intangible legacy. It promotes the spreading of mother tongues that will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop full awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world in inspiring unity based on perceptive, charity and dialogue.

International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 with the aim of promoting linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was created by the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in order to promote cultural traditions and instigate solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue. The date represents the incident that took place in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of their country’s two national languages, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now called Bangladesh.

In line with Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education of the Agenda 2030, this year’s theme emphasises on the importance of mother tongue languages as appropriate languages of instruction in the early years of schooling. It facilitates access to education while promoting fairness for population groups that speak minority and indigenous languages, in particular, for girls and women. Besides, adopting mother tongue language in education raises the quality of education and learning achievement by focusing on understanding, learning and creativity, rather than on rote and memorisation of one recognised or official language.

At the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), we look to uphold issues as well as support linguistic diversity and multicultural education. We support all society especially young people to realise the importance of linguistic diversity as one of the world remarkable heritages. Mother tongue instruction is imperative for everyone to enjoy their right to quality education and key to reducing unfairness, promoting inclusion and improving learning outcomes for all.

We wish you a Happy International Mother Language Day and let us sustain mother tongue languages and the beauty of their diversification with a pride and innumerable respect!