TRU’s office of Indigenous Education and Bangladesh Cultural Association partnered to celebrate International Mother Language Day on Feb. 13, 2020. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Feb. 21 as the International Mother Language Day on Nov. 17, 1999.
It commemorates the 21st day of February in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh.
The event welcomed the audience at 5 pm with a panel discussion about the importance of language and cultural diversity. “Languages are the vehicle of a culture,” said Dr Hafizur Rahman, one of the panel members from Bangladesh.
Dr Rahman is also a professor at the TRU SOBE and has been a part of TRU since 1995.
Other panel member included Monica Sanchez-Flores, an associate professor at TRU and who has done commendable work on multiculturalism; Paul Michel, Special Advisor to the President on Indigenous Matters at TRU; and Garry Gottfriedson a poet, teacher, rancher and a member of the Secwepemc First Nation.
The show was presented by Musfiq Rahman, an associate professor at TRU. The panel members took pride in their mother languages and discussed the importance of diversity and multiculturalism. The panel also brought to light the role of TRU in bringing diversity to Kamloops, how Kamloops has become home to students and families from different parts of the world, and how beautifully newer communities are being welcomed into this city.
The panel discussion was followed by a series of questions from the audience. The event managed to welcome a very diverse pool of guests. After the question-answer discussion, the audience was wowed by cultural performances by students in different languages. Events like these not only celebrate important and recognized days but also bring to public attention where we stand as a community. How diverse and welcoming we are towards new cultures and new communities and Kamloops is a great example of how different cultures and communities can co-exist peacefully and in harmony.