21 February marks International Mother Language Day (IMLD). This is the annual day where the UN and organisations working on linguistic diversity and linguistic rights mark the importance of linguistic diversity, mother tongue education and protecting endangered languages.

IMLD presents an excellent opportunity for PEN to raise awareness about our work on linguistic rights and it is  hoped that over the coming years it will be the central day for events to raise awareness and advocate around linguistic rights and become a central focus for our campaigning on the Girona Manifesto.

Attached here you will find an introduction to International Mother Language Day from the Chair of the Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee Josep-Marie Terricabras.

1. The 2013 theme for IMLD is “The Book” to promote the publication of books in mother languages. PEN International’s Translation and Linguistic Rights Committee encourages Centres to:

(i)      Carry out activities such as hosting events and/or organising publications which promote mother language books

(ii)    Use the opportunity of IMLD to publicise the Girona Declaration, especially in its translated mother language form (

(iii)   Call on the relevant authorities to take action on the TLR-related resolutions passed at Congress (please see attached)

(iv)  Contact their local UNESCO centre to participate in events happening on the day.

2. We ask that any Centres working on the issue of linguistic rights contact PEN International about this work so that we may support it. PEN International is hoping to gather as much information as possible about our PEN Centres’ work in the area of Linguistic Rights so that we can improve the quality of our campaigning around the Girona Manifesto and to increase the impact of our translation work.

Sarah Clarke –  Policy Officer, PEN International