The Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur hosted a virtual event to commemorate International Mother Language Day 2023, with the theme of the role of language in promoting "Unity in Diversity," in collaboration with School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Taylor's University, Malaysia and Centre for Genocide Studies at Dhaka University, Bangladesh. The Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Dr. AK Abdul Momen MP, emphasized in his video message that unity in diversity is essential for a country because the unity of citizens' aspirations plays a significant role in maintaining peace and stability for the shared prosperity of any nation.
In some ways, the celebration of International Mother Language Day (IMLD) serves as a pilgrimage to preserve linguistic diversity. Bangladesh High Commissioner to Malaysia, His Excellency Mr. Md Golam Sarwar in his opening remark emphasized that a cross-border multilingual programme on the auspicious occasion of International Mother Language Day 2023 will serve as a bridge of language and cultural connectivity between South and South East Asian countries.
Mr. Manuel Balaguer Silas, Ambassador of Argentina to Malaysia, emphasized the importance of preserving mother tongues in his message, recalling the Language Movement of Bangladesh in 1952. He stated that the Argentina government has decided to reopen the Argentina Embassy in Dhaka, which will strengthen bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Argentina. He also acknowledged the expressions of affection and support of the Argentina Football team by the Bangladeshis around the world on the occasion of the recent World Football Cup in Qatar, and he highlighted the strengths of sports as a universal language of unity in diversity.
Mr. Ali Hussain Didi, Maldives High Commissioner to Malaysia, and Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok, held a brief discussion on the diversity of linguistic and culture in Maldives and Bangkok. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wan Puspa Melati Wan Abdul Halim, Head of Department, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Taylor's University, gave the IMLD committee and participants a vote of thanks.
With Prof. Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed, Director of the Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka as Moderator, a panel discussion on the "Role of Language in Promoting Unity in Diversity" was held. As discussants, Prof. Meghna Guhathakurta, Executive Director of Bangladesh Research Initiative, Adjunct Prof. Anas Zubedy from Taylor's University, Malaysia, and Prof. SurichaiWun'Gaeo from Chulalongkorn University, Thailand took part in the panel discussion. The discussion concluded that language plays a significant role in fostering community unity.
A video describing the brief history of International Mother Language Day was displayed, which was screened as a remembrance of the sacrifices and martyrs of this historical event. Following that, Oikotaan, a group of artist from Bangladesh and Assistant Prof. Dr. Muhammad Sayyid Shafiee, Malaysian Composer, performed a beautiful rendition of Amar VaiyerRokteRangano, the Language Day anthem.
Finally, a multicultural event in which, in addition to Bangladesh, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur based diplomatic missions of Argentina, China, India, Maldives, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Taylor's University, depicted their respective heritage through plays, musicals and dance performances. The event truly brought diverse cultures and languages together through the active and spontaneous participation of numerous countries and institutions, reflecting the essence of International Mother Language Day.