University takes part in International Mother Language Day

TRU community helps promote linguistic diversity and the protection of mother languages

While it started in what is now Bangledesh, International Mother Language Day is now celebrated around the world. (Aminul Islam Sajib/Flickr)

On February 21st, 2018, the world celebrated International Mother Language Day. The purpose of the day is to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, multilingualism and to protect all mother languages.

This day was celebrated at TRU earlier on February 16th, 2018, with multiple events taking place throughout the day with a public rally in the morning, a discussion forum in the afternoon, and a cultural showcase and dinner in the evening.

Back in 1952, speakers of the Bengali language in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, fought to have the right to speak their own language. Pakistan attempted to make Urdu the official language, making other languages, such as Punjabi and Pushto, second-class. This is what prompted the creation of International Mother Language Day on February 21st, 1999.

The day was organized in part by the TRUSU Bangladesh Cultural Association, TRU Aboriginal Education, and TRU Faculty Association and was succeeded through multiple TRU student volunteers.

The event was also able to run smoothly due to the help of their partners: TRU World, TRU Faculty of Science, TRU School of Business and Economics and TRU Faculty of Education and Social Work. This was the second time this event has been held at TRU, and its purpose was to showcase the different cultures on campus, as well as to celebrate the right of being able to speak your own language.

Beginning the day was a public rally through common grounds on campus, bringing awareness to International Mother Language Day as well as the events taking place later on. In the afternoon, a discussion forum took place in the Irving K. Barber Centre, focusing on Aboriginal history and reconciliation.

The cultural showcase and dinner were held in the evening, also in the Irving K. Barber Centre. This event involved 13 different cultural performances, mostly from Bangladesh and India, but others included were China, Ukraine, First Nations, and African cultures. The performances consisted of dancing, singing, and drumming, as well a few group band performances.

Part way through the showcase, dinner was served to the attendees, with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options available, and included foods primarily from India and Bangladesh. A major hit among all the attendees was the bannock, a traditional food of many first nations cultures.

If you missed the International Mother Language Day celebrations, you can still celebrate TRU’s international community during International Days (IDays) on campus, being celebrated from March 5th, 2018 to March 9th, 2018. This week will consist of multiple workshops, demonstrations, lectures, presentations, performances and more, and is something you won’t want to miss.