International Mother Language Day is a day that raises awareness of cultural diversity and promotes multilingualism. It is celebrated worldwide every year to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity as well as multilingualism.

It was formally recognised by The United Nations General Assembly in 2002. The idea to celebrate this day was the initiative of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, 21st February is the anniversary of the day when the people of Bengal fought for recognition for the Bangla language.

The timetable for this event is as follows:

5:00 Lord Provost Opening Speech

5:10 Sir Geoff Palmer

5:20 Bilingualism Matters

5:30 Happy to Translate

5:40 Lusofonias

6:00 Closing


Foysol Hussain Choudhury MBE is a Bangladeshi-born British businessman. He is Chairman of the Edinburgh and Lothian’s Regional Equality Council. He is one of the founding directors and the Vice Chair of the Edinburgh Mela.

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer is ELREC Honorary President. He became the first black professor in Scotland in 1989 and then a Professor Emeritus after his retirement in 2005. In 2014 he was knighted with New Year Honours.

Rt Hon Frank Ross Lord Provost is the Honorary Patron of ELREC. Passionate about encouraging good citizenship and encouraging businesses to do their bit for the city in addressing social exclusion and inequality.

This event is hosted by:

Edinburgh & Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC), founded in 1971, is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity made up of individual members and representatives from a wide range of organisations.

Bilingualism Matters are a research and information centre based at Edinburgh University. They study bilingualism and language learning. They pass on their knowledge to enable people to make informed decisions based on scientific evidence.

Happy To Translate is an award winning national scheme that allows organisations to effectively engage with their customers who speak very little or no English.

Lusofonias is a non-profit organisation who aim to teach Portuguese to children and young people from the growing Portuguese-speaking community in Edinburgh.

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