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International Mother Language Day, 21 February

International Mother Language Day (IMLD) was proclaimed by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1999 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. There is growing awareness that languages play a vital role in process of integration into all aspects of public life but particularly in education. It strengthens co-operation and contributes to attaining quality education for all, building inclusive knowledge societies and preserving cultural heritage, and mobilizing political will to apply the benefits of science and technology to sustainable development. Languages are among the most precious, and at the same time the most fragile, treasures of mankind. 

Theme for 2017: Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education  

UNESCO celebrates International Mother Language Day (IMLD) on February 21, 2017 under the theme “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”. To foster sustainable development, learners must have access to education in their mother tongue and in other languages. It is through the mastery of the first language or mother tongue that the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy are acquired. Local languages, especially minority and indigenous, transmit cultures, values and traditional knowledge, thus playing an important role in promoting sustainable futures.