Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Celebration of the International Mother Language Day in the Netherlands 2024

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A commemorative event at Leiden University, campus Den Haag

By Roy Lie Atjam

On 21 February 2024, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in the Netherlands celebrated International Mother Language Day at the Leiden University campus in The Hague. The event was attended by Ambassadors and Diplomats  from several embassies including Argentina, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Colombia, Egypt, Greece, India, Italy, Morocco, Norway, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Serbia, the Philippines, Yemen, and Ukraine, who proudly displayed their national flags.

H.E. M. Riaz Hamidullah, Ambassador of Bangladesh

The commemoration was not only attended by Dutch officials, academics, and researchers, but the diversity of the 21 participating countries also indicated that it was not solely a Bangladeshi event. However, the occasion subtly projected Bangladesh’s values and history.

Before the International Mother Language Day commemoration, an open poster competition was held for students and youth across the Netherlands. The competition invited the submission of posters, digital flyers, or other images that depicted the theme of “Harmony in Diversity.” A student from Rotterdam won the contest with the creative design, and was awarded.

Children from the Chinese school Leiden, International Mother Language Day 2024.

A total of 120+ people attended the  commemoration of International Mother Language Day. Among them were 12 Ambassadors who took part in a spontaneous language quiz, the four winners receiving a memento replica of the Shaheed Minar.

Speakers  at the event included Prof. Mark Rutgers, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University, Ms. Kathleen Ferrier (Chair of the Dutch UNESCO Commission), and Mr. Rabin S Baldewsingh (National Coordinator against Discrimination and Racism in the Netherlands). They discussed the importance of mother languages and multilingualism in modern times and societies. Additionally, two University researchers explored the topics of cultural diversity and multilingualism, while Dr. Federico Gobbo from the University of Amsterdam spoke about the significance of Esperanto. The event also featured an engaging presentation on the growing importance of Sign Language.

Ms. Kathleen Ferrier, Chair of the Dutch UNESCO Commission. International Mother Language Day 2024.

The program commemorating International Mother Language Day lasted about two hours. The dynamic program featured various performances, such as poetry recitals, songs, and dances, from students, children, and performers representing different countries, including the Netherlands, China, India, Italy, Yemen, Puerto Rico, Ukraine, Spain, Kosovo, Bolivia, and Morocco. The performances highlighted the linguistic and cultural diversity of the audience, and was streamed live on the Embassy’s Facebook page.

Among the highlights of the program was the timeless song, “Amar Bhaier Rokte Rongano Ekushe February”, performed by a Bangladeshi artist, Tanjina Tama, and members of the Embassy.

Bangladesh choir, International Mother Language Day 2024

On International Mother Language Day 2024, a solemn floral wreath laying ceremony was held at the permanent International Mother Language Memorial in Zuider Park, The Hague. At the ceremony, H.E. Ambassador M. Riaz Hamidullah, staff members of the Bangladesh Embassy, their families, and members of the Bangladeshi community in the Netherlands.

The 2024 International Mother Language Day celebration was a significant milestone with 21 countries participating and 12 ambassadors in attendance, elevating the significance of the day to a superior level. Finally, refreshments and Bangladeshi snacks were served to conclude the day.

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