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International Mother Language Day 2021



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International Mother Language Day

Online screening of "Colours of the Alphabet"

19 February from 12.30 to 2.15 pm (CET)



International Mother Language Day 2021 Poster

A beautiful, inspiring and bittersweet documentary film about language and childhood in Africa. Steward, Elizabeth and M’barak are three first time school pupils in rural Zambia who struggle to make sense of an educational system where the language they speak at home is different from the language used in the classroom.

Visit the website of the movie.

Programme of activities

Webex Link from 12.30 to 2.15 pm (CET)

Opening remarks by the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Ms. Tatiana Valovaya

Introduction by:
Dr. Alastair Cole, film director
Prof. Nick Higgins, film producer
Followed by a Q and A

Master of ceremony:
Ms. Michelle Keating, UN Geneva focal point for multilingualism, Chief of Languages Service, Division of Conference Management

Watch the movie

"Colours of the Alphabet" will be available for streaming on the following links, until midnight 21st February.

Watch with subtitles in:


You can also watch with English Audio Description

If you live in Africa, you can watch the movie, in one of 30 languages at:

Available in Akan, Amharic, Bemba, English, Ewe, Fula, French, Hausa, Igbo, Kikuyyu, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Lozi, Luganda, Luo, Magalasy, Moore, Nyanja, Oshiwambo, Portuguese, Tswana, Shona, Soli, Swahili, Tigrinya, Tsonga, Tswana, Wolof, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zulu.

How much do you know about languages?

Test yourself with a 25-question quiz.
Five winners will be selected from among the best scores and win a copy of the Charter of the United Nations signed by the Director-General.
Names of the winners and answers to the quiz will be announced on 22 February.

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