The contemporary globalisation poses a challenge for linguistic diversity but in some ways makes the intergenerational retention of diverse languages more feasible through linguistic and cultural connectivity, said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen.
“We need a cross-border advocacy for multilingualism which aims to be nationally cohesive, economically productive and socially just,” he said on Thursday.
The Foreign Minister said the celebration of the International Mother Language Day is an apt occasion to remind all that mother language is a bearer of respective cultural heritage, including the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue.
Dr Momen was speaking at the ministerial segment of the two-day cross-border multicultural programme jointly organised by the High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Centre for Genocide Studies, Dhaka University, Taylor’s University School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Malaysia and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia, marking the International Mother Language Day 2021 virtually.
The first day event included ministerial-level statements, followed by a panel discussion. In the beginning, a song titled “Amar Bhai er rokte rangano Ekushe February ” was performed in Bangla and Malay languages in tributes to the memories of the Language Martyrs of February 21, 1952.
The programme started with the welcome address of Prof Dr Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan, Executive Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management, Taylor’s University, Malaysia.
Besides, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, Nancy Shukri delivered the opening speech as a guest of honor at the ministerial segment of the day one event through a video message.
In his speech, Dr Momen said, “A cross-border multilingual programme on this auspicious occasion of International Mother Language Day 2021 will work as a bridge of language and cultural connectivity among the South and South East Asian countries”.
The Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia emphasised the importance of the protection and preservation of languages as it translates to the protection and preservation of culture and heritage.
She also applauded the efforts of Bangladesh in making the International Mother Language Day a worldwide celebration, highlighting its importance to the world.
Prof Fakrul Alam, Department of English, Dhaka University, Associate Prof Dr Salinah Binti Ja’afar, Department of Linguistics, Academy of Malay Studies, University of Malaya, Shigeru Aoyagi, Director for UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education attended the panel discussion as speakers.
Besides, Prof Firdous Azim, Chair of the Department of English and Humanities, BRAC University and Prof Dr Wan Zawawi Wan Ibrahim, Adjunct Professor, Taylor’s University attended the panel discussion as discussants.
The cultural part of the event will be held on February 19, the second day of the event.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia Mr Md Golam Sarwar and Malaysian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Haznah Md Hashim will participate in the event.
Besides live performances of Bangladesh and Malaysia, the countries like India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives will participate in the cultural event with recorded videos, being represented by the respective diplomatic Missions in Kuala Lumpur.