Bangladesh High Commission to facilitate Bengali learning to new generation in UK
Bangladesh High Commissioner to UK Saida Muna Tasneem said that as Bengali is the third most spoken language in Greater London, the High Commission would facilitate Bengali language learning to the new generation of British-Bangladeshis.
"I call upon the mayor of London for announcing the 21st February as London's Multilingual Day to promote multilingualism, greater intercultural harmony and understanding amongst over 300 multi-ethnic communities that enriched the cultural landscape of Greater London," She said at a programme at a hotel in London.
The event was organised by the Bangladesh High Commission, London in partnership with UK National Commission for Unesco to commemorate Martyrs' Day and the 'International Mother Language Day' under the theme, "Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities".
Paying rich tribute to 1952 language martyrs and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the high commissioner recalled that -- according to BBC -- Bangabandhu was the first Bengali to take Bangla at the United Nations General Assembly; and his daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is now carrying forward the legacy by internationalising Martyr's Day as International Mother Language Day as well as advocating for recognising Bangla as an official language of the UN.
The envoy also called upon the British Council to support conservation of more than 7,000 mother languages at the International Mother Language Institute in Dhaka, established by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland QC paid rich tributes to the language martyrs and Bangabandhu and said, "The 21st February is a great day for the international community to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity, which also reminds me of my Dominican roots and mother tongue, the Creole language."
UK National Commission for Unesco's Secretary-General James Bridge cited the Unesco-Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Award as an opportunity for recognition of outstanding global initiatives of young people engaged in culture and the creative economy.
Ambassador of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Unesco Laura Davies spoke about various initiatives of the organisation to promote multilingualism, including the world atlas of 1863 languages while emphasising the promotion of technology to foster multilingual learning and make local dialect a shared heritage.
Turkish Ambassador to the UK Ümit Yalçın, Ambassador of the Republic of North Macedonia Aleksandra Miovska, Ambassador of Cuba to the UK Bárbara Montalvo Álvarez, Ambassador of Georgia to the UK Sophie Katsarava, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK Saroja Sirisena, Ambassador of Indonesia to the UK, Dr. Desra Percaya, Maya Sivagnanam, Deputy Director of the British Foreign and Development Office, Amish Tripathi, Director of the Nehru Centre in London, Michael Connolly, Director of the British Council, Lyricist of Amar Ekushey theme song and eminent columnist Abdul Gaffar Choudhury and Bangladesh Liberation War Action Committee UK veteran Sultan Mahmud Shariff spoke at the event.