International Mother Language Day 2024


Observed on February 21, International Mother Language Day was established by UNESCO in 1999 to promote and celebrate linguistic diversity across the globe. This year’s theme is multilingual education as a pillar to intergenerational learning. UNESCO organized an event with two panel discussions focusing on multilingual education as a key component of quality learning. The event can be viewed online at

On the occasion, Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO released a statement, in which she highlighted that 40% of the global population lacks access to education in their mother tongue, hindering knowledge transmission across generations. UNESCO urges individuals to focus on learning and transmission on this day, as studies show that education in one's mother tongue enhances academic success, self-esteem, curiosity, and cognitive development.

UNESCO's efforts extend to protecting all languages, including Indigenous languages, through initiatives like the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (IDIL). The organization promotes multilingualism on the Internet and radio to ensure equal access to quality information for all individuals. By diversifying online content and supporting Indigenous language radio projects, UNESCO strives to empower people through language and knowledge transmission. The ultimate goal is to provide equal learning opportunities and knowledge transmission for all, regardless of the languages they speak.

The full statement can be found on the website of the UN.