International Mother Language Award
Dr. Mahendra Kumar Mishra, an Indian educator and social worker for the advancement of indigenous languages in Odisha, received the World Mother Language Award from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Dr. Mishra has worked over three decades on the language, culture and education of the marginalised languages of Odisha. Inaugurating a four-day programme of the International Mother Language Institute and conferring the award, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed the need ‘for research to preserve, revitalise and develop the mother languages of the world as many languages are being lost’.
In Dhaka, four awardees received the two national prizes and the two international awards from Prime Minister Hasina. The national prizes went to Habibur Rahman and Ranjit Singha of Bangladesh, while Mahendra Kumar Mishra and Mother Language Lovers of Global Society, Vancouver, received honourable mentions. The prize was established by UNESCO in 2021 and is granted to those who have made exceptional contributions to the development, rehabilitation, and preservation of mother tongues.
History of the Day:
February 21 is celebrated as the International Mother Language Day, as declared by the United Nations in 2000. As per the UNESCO, this day aims to celebrate the ways of expressing the world in its multiplicity, committing to the preservation of the diversity of languages as a common heritage, and working for quality education in mother tongues for all. The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh and was approved at the 1999 UNESCO General conference.
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