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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
International Mother Language Day Celebration at UNESCO
Editorial Contact: Jasmina Sopova, Press Relations Section, tel. +33 (0)1 45 68 17 17 - Email

14-02-2006 4:15 pm On the occasion of the sixth International Mother Language Day, celebrated 21 February, UNESCO is organizing a conference on linguistic diversity*. Participants will include: Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, former President of the Republic of Iceland and Goodwill Ambassador of the Organization, Adama Samassekou, President of the African Academy of Languages, Vittorio Bo, President of Codice (Italy) and Daniel Prado, Director of the Terminology and Language Industries Department of the Latin Union (Room IV, from 10 am to 6 pm). The conference will be opened by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, Musa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan, President of the General Conference, and Zhang Xinsheng, President of the Executive Board of the Organization.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir will discuss the impact of the disappearance of languages, which is the subject of a documentary film, In Languages We Live – Voices of the World (Denmark 2005), made at her initiative. Directed by Billeskov Jansen and Signe Byrge Sørensen, the film treats the issue through a number of individual stories.

The documentary film screening will be followed by the presentation of a number of initiatives for the protection of linguistic diversity. Vittorio Bo will talk about the City of the Word project for a museum dedicated to languages soon be established in Italy. This project is an initiative of Codice, an association which creates and manages cultural research projects (http://www.codicecultura.it).

Adama Samassekou will present the activities of the African Academy of Languages, which was recently instituted as an organ of the African Union (AU), entrusted with developing continent-wide programmes (http://www.acalan.org). The AU has proclaimed 2006 as the Year of African languages.

Daniel Prado will present the results of the survey about multilingualism recently carried out by the Latin Union, an institution dedicated to the promotion of the common heritage and identities of the Latin world (http://www.unilat.org).

International Mother Language Day is celebrated every year on 21 February to promote the recognition and practice of the mother languages of the world, and especially those of minorities. It was proclaimed in 1999 during the 30th session of UNESCO General Conference.


Source Media Advisory N°2006-08

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