student working on a laptop

A Celebration of Landmark's Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

Monday, February 25, 2019

poster of joy for mother language dayOn February 21, Landmark students joined hundreds of schools around the world in celebrating International Mother Language Day, participating in events to showcase the many languages spoken on campus.

UNESCO has named 2019 the Year of Indigenous Languages in an effort to preserve languages in danger of extinction and to allow indigenous populations to be educated in their mother tongue (40% of the world population still does not have access to education in their native language).

Students and faculty made the third Landmark International Mother Language Day a success by speaking and sharing the different languages they knew, writing equivalents for the words "hope," "joy," and "loyalty" in those languages on posters. They also played word games, including one that required them to test their morphology knowledge and another to match English words and their equivalents in foreign languages. Landmark's ever-supportive Sage staff prepared delicious rice pudding with assorted toppings that added a festive flavor to the day.

The word "joy" was chosen in honor of Mrs. El Heneidy, whose middle name was Joy.

An impressive 25 foreign languages are understood at Landmark, from French to Farsi to Spanish to Swedish.

History of International Mother Language Day

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established International Mother Language Day in 1999 to to recognize that speaking in one's mother language is a human right.  International Mother Language Day commemorates the February 21, 1952, killing of four college students by police in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) who were protesting for the right to speak Bengali, their mother language. The government had declared Urdu the only official language. After years of protests, the government made Bengali the official language of the country in 1956.