International Mother Language Day is held every year on 21 February to promote awareness of language diversity and multilingualism. Led by UNESCO, it has been observed across the world since 2000, inspired by events surrounding the Bengali language movement in Bangladesh in 1952.
In Manchester, the day is observed through educational and cultural events held at local libraries and schools. On 21 February 2017, a central event took place for the first time, facilitated by Multilingual Manchester, with community representatives, city council officers and executive members, and practitioners, to discuss Manchester’s vision as a City of Languages. This year’s activities take place again all across the city and involve exhibitions, interactive games, and poetry reading.
To mark this year’s events, Multilingual Manchester is calling on institutions and communities around the world to re-brand 21 February as International Mother & Father Language Day, in order to honour contributions made by parents in all possible family constellations, and to flag the responsibility of all parents to promoting heritage, skills, and a basis for building bridges across cultures through language.