International Mother Language Day (IMLD)
Proclaimed by City of Ottawa
by Dr. P. K. Barua, Ottawa
An event dedicated to the official proclamation of the International Mother Language Day (IMLD) in the City of Ottawa was held on 15th November 2017. Organized by Bangla Caravan, a voluntary organization, in collaboration with PEACE, the proclamation ceremony was attended and addressed by the Ottawa City Mayor His Worship Jim Watson, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada His Excellency Mr. Mizanur Rahman, Secretary General of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO Mr. Sebastien Goupil, Representative of Indigenous Communities Mr. Justin Holness, Mary Jane Farrish – Superintendent of Instruction, Ottawa Carleton District School Board. Ms. Marianne Kayed of Ottawa Catholic School Board, and Tamil organization representative Mr. Rama Thavasimadar. Other dignitaries in attendance were Ms. Mary Jane Farris and Mr. Chris Ellis from the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, Bangladesh Freedom Fighters living in Ottawa and leaders and members of Ottawa’s multicultural communities.
In his speech, His Excellency High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada offered his sincere thanks to Bangla
Caravan and PEACE organized such an important event that was dedicated to the Proclamation Ceremony of International Mother Language Day (IMLD). High Commissioner Mr. Rahman extended special thanks to the Mayor of the City of Ottawa, Jim Watson for making the Proclamation of IMLD in the City of Ottawa. He emphasized that the Proclamation of IMLD would be the source of inspiration for many other multicultural communities. He offered a suggestion to Mayor Jim Watson to explore the possibilities of building a permanent monument for showing the respect to those who sacrificed their lives for keeping their mother tongue alive.
His Worship, Mayor Jim Watson expressed his profound satisfaction for organizing this special event for IMLD Proclamation. Mayor indicated that he is always dedicated to the cause of diversity and multiculturalism and expressed his desire to continuing his efforts in supporting the initiative like one that he was part of.
Secretary General of Canadian Commission for UNESCO Mr. Mr. Sébastien Goupil was very happy to be the part of the IMLD proclamation as he was proud of the fact that UNESCO was the main player for proclaiming IMLD in the UN. He offered his commitment to work with multicultural communities, including Indigenous communities.
At the outset, Dr. Monjur Chowdhury delivered a welcome address with highlights on Bangla Caravan/ PEACE initiatives, leading to the official proclamation of IMLD by the City of Ottawa. In his speech, Professor Amitava Sanyal emphasized the importance of mother language, while Dr. Nurul Huq, a Bangladesh freedom fighter, told the audience about how the Bangla language movement of 1952 turned into the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971.
In the absence of MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers and MP Chandra Arya, Danielle McDonald, CEO Ottawa Public Library, their video messages and letters addressed to the proclamation event, were displayed. Also, during this event, a Bangla Caravan publication, dedicated to the IMLD was made public and two Bangla Caravan volunteers, Arani and Promi, handed over copies to the Ottawa City Mayor, Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada and the Secretary General of the Canadian Commission of UNESCO. The event was wrapped up with the handing over of the IMLD proclamation by His Worship Jim Watson to Bangla Caravan and its team.
The entire event was facilitated by Adib Bakht and Nowreen Haque.