International Mother Language Day makes its way back to UF

By: Pulse Staff

The University of Findlay is due to host its second annual International Mother Language Day Event Feb. 21 from 12–1:30 p.m. in the CBSL Atrium.

Sadia Akhter Aurna, a sophomore at UF and speaker and creator of the hopes UF students attend and celebrate.

Aurna was born and raised in Bangladesh and is very excited to bring this celebration back to campus for the second time ever. International Mother Language day is a holiday established in 1999 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization intending to help preserve and celebrate indigenous languages.

“The reason to establish a special day, at least for the UN, was to promote bilingualism, multilingualism, and cultural diversity,” said Aurna. However, for her there are many more reasons. “While we are talking a language has completely died out. When that language dies, the whole culture dies.”

The event on campus is sponsored by the UF Department of Language and Cultural Connections of Hancock County, Ohio, a group committed to providing opportunities for youth to meet and interact with people with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Findlay’s celebration of the holiday will include live music, speeches, storytelling and dancing in various native languages including Arabic, Japanese, Swahili, Bengali, English, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish and more. Presenters are all University of Findlay students hoping to share and preserve their mother languages.

Associate Professor of Japanese, Director of Modern Language & The University International Relations Representative and LiaisonDr. Hiroaki Kawamura, hopes the event will help students recognizethe importance of language to a person’s identity and help them identify and appreciate the cultural diversity on campus and in the community. He wants to emphasize that everyone is encouraged to drop in, regardless of their language or culture.

“It does not matter how many languages you speak or which language you use,” Kawamura explains. “International Mother Language Day is a celebration of our commitment to linguistic and cultural diversity. We want to celebrate together and commit ourselves to a better future together.”

For Aurna, the importance of celebrating International Mother Language Day lies in preserving these languages and thus their culture. Entire accounts of history, tradition, and learning stand to be lost when the last indigenous speaker dies.

She believes the problem lies with the fact that a lot of time and energy are put in to learning some languages, like English, but not others. English, she explains, has little to no chance of dying out anytime soon. But some smaller communities still speaking their indigenous languages are still at risk.

International Mother Language Day makes the first step towards saving those endangered languages. Aurna and Dr. Kawamura both ask that students stop by to show their support for all languages and cultures.

For more information please contact Sadia Akhter Aurna at aurnas@findlay.edu or Santosh Timilsina at timilsinas@findlay.edu.

 

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