International Mother Language Day (IMLD) was first proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999.

On 16 May 2009 the United Nations General Assembly called upon Member States "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world". By the same resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to promote unity in diversity and international understanding, multilingualism and multiculturalism.

IMLD has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. This date represents the specific day in 1952 when students demonstrated for Bangla to be recognised as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan. Protesting students were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, and sacrificed their lives for their desire for the recognition of their mother tongue language.

In recognition of this day and in celebrating the Constitution and 20 years of establishment, PanSALB has decided to declare February 2017 a LANGUAGE MONTH   The UNESCO theme for IMLD  is " Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education." The Day will be in line with "Education for People and the Planet: Creating Sustainable Futures for All", theme of UNESCO's Global Monitoring Report on Education, 2016.

IMLD also supports Goal 4.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): "Ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy"

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