IICBA celebrates International Mother Language Day in collaboration with the Bangladesh Embassy

The embassy of Bangladesh in Addis Ababa and UNESCO-IICBA jointly organized an evening event to mark the celebration of the International Mother Language Day on the 21st of February 2017 at the premises of the embassy. The program begun by observing one minute silence in honor of language martyrs in Bangladesh and across the world. Then, H. E. Ambassador Monirul Islam gave a welcoming speech which was immediately followed by the message from the Honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Following that, UNESCO's annual message for the day was read by Prof. Alaphia Wright, Director of UNESCO Addis Ababa liaison office and representative of the African Union and Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

A short panel discussion on the importance of mother tongue languages in education in Africa was facilitated by Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of UNESCO-IICBA. The speakers in the panel were Prof. Baye Yimam of Addis Ababa University, Dr. Beatric Njenga, Chief of Education, AU ARST and Ms. Sharmin Ahmad who is a writer and social activist. All the three speakers emphasized the indispensable role that mother language plays to reinforce cultural identity and to ensure quality education in Africa. It was also noted that the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2016-2025) has given a particular focus to the issue and reiterated its support to the introduction of more African languages to schools systems across Africa. Attendees of the event were then invited to say a few words in their own mother language, which was then followed by the display of a short video clip, cultural songs and dance from Ethiopia and Bangladesh. The event concluded with guests invited to enjoy a delicious traditional buffet dinner from Bangladesh.