On 21st February, at the “Green School” in Pristina, USAID’s Basic Education Program invited students from different parts of Kosovo to celebrate the “International Mother Language Day”, the theme was “Voices of Kosovo” – value your own mother language while appreciating the language of others!. Working in groups with students of different languages, the students had the opportunity to present different words in their own mother language and also to learn new words from other languages from their peers. Students used an exciting computer application called “Wordle” to make designs using the words they identified. They were shown photo images to help them create the word designs. They then printed out their designs to create a ‘Wall of Words”.
The event was visited by Dr. Ramë Buja, Minister, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology who told the students, “My message is to learn your mother tongue, still will have the opportunity and ability to learn other languages”.
The school was also visited by Maureen Shauket, USAID/Kosovo Mission Director who said that bringing together students from different backgrounds and cultures in events as this discourages assessment of the differences between us. “Think about how boring it would be if all of us would be speaking the same language and have the same identity”. Roberta Mahoney, USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator, who also attended, remarked, “International Mother Language Day reminds us of the value of our own language and culture”.
To celebrate this day with the public the program placed a half page advertisement in a local newspaper, the Ad was designed by the students of the primary school “Bedri Gjina” from Mitrovica.
International Mother Language Day is observed every year to promote the richness of voices around the world. It was first promoted by UNESCO. The United Nations recognized the important role of language diversity in making 2008 the Year of International Languages. Countries that celebrate the day now determine a theme for each year and encourage all citizens to be involved.