Background
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999. The UN General Assembly welcomed the proclamation of the day in its resolution of 2002.
 
It is widely recognised today that languages play a vital role in many ways, including:  
  • in development,
  • in ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue,
  • in strengthening co-operation and attaining quality education for all,
  • in building inclusive knowledge societies and preserving cultural heritage, and
  • in mobilizing political will for applying the benefits of science and technology to sustainable development.
International Mother Language Day also recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind.
 
International Mother Language Day 2022
 
The theme of the 2022 International Mother Language Day is “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and Opportunities”, which raises the potential role of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning for all. Technology has the potential to accelerate efforts towards ensuring equitable and inclusive lifelong learning opportunities for all if it is guided by the core principles of inclusion and equity. 
 
During school closures due to COVID-19, many schools around the world utilised technology-based solutions to maintain continuity of learning.  However, many learners lacked the necessary equipment, internet access, suitable materials, language diversity and content to enable them to fully participate in distance learning.
 
Language diversity, with its complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development is extremely important.  However, globalization can threaten the ongoing use of diverse languages, which can impact on the traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expresses intertwined in cultural diversity.
 
International Mother Language Day is observed to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.  The International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032) aims to ensure Indigenous peoples’ right to preserve, revitalize and promote their languages, through opportunities to collaborate in areas of policy development and developing initiatives for the use, preservation, revitalization and promotion of indigenous languages around the world.