Celebrating Linguistic Diversity: KISS-DU Marks UNESCO International Mother Language Day

Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Deemed to be University (KISS-DU) successfully hosted the special event Kalinga Conversation in collaboration with Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE), the Center for Indigenous Languages in the School of Comparative Tribal Languages & Literature, and Human Resource Development Centres to commemorate UNESCO International Mother Language Day. The event aimed at promoting linguistic diversity and fostering meaningful dialogue on multilingual education.

The event, held on 21st February 2024, brought together esteemed guests, both on-site and online, creating a diverse audience that included Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann, Prof. Amareswar Galla (Pro-Chancellor, KISS-DU and UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums & Sustainable Heritage Development, AnantU), Professor of Practice, Shri. Kanda Charan Naik, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice Chancellor, Senior Functionaries, faculties, scholars, students, and language enthusiasts.

The event commenced with the soulful welcome song in Santali, skillfully crafted by Tulasi Murmu, a student of KISS, serving as a musical ode to Odisha’s richness. Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Deepak Kumar Behera emphasized UNESCO’s 2024 theme, “Multilingual education – a pillar of learning and intergenerational learning.” Shri Kanda Charan Naik, Professor of Practice, KISS-DU addressed the gathering in ‘HO’ language, while Prof. Amareswar Galla, Pro-Chancellor, KISS-DU highlighted the crucial role of languages in fostering inclusion and achieving Sustainable Development Goals.


The day’s initiatives also marked a significant commitment to preserving linguistic and cultural diversity through two pioneering projects. Firstly, the establishment of the Kuvi Data Collection Center, designed to enrich the Kuvi Repository by leveraging insights garnered from the KUVI Characteristic Workshop, supported by Lenovo-Motorola. Secondly, the introduction of the Kalinga Indigenous Language Repository (KILR), a collaborative endeavor between KISS and KIIT, was spearheaded by Dr. Satya Ranjan Dash and Dr. Sushree Sangita Mohanty. Scheduled for launch on 9th August 2024 (The International Day of The World’s Indigenous Peoples), it will preserve and celebrate the linguistic and cultural diversity of Indigenous communities, encompassing 20 Indigenous languages from Odisha, India, and 20 Indigenous languages worldwide.

The highlight of the event was the address by Chief Speaker Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann, a distinguished linguist and a living legend of research in Australia. His extensive body of work, ranging from Israeli Hebrew to Yiddish and Aboriginal languages, was recognized with the Rubinlicht Prize in 2023. His lecture on ‘Language Revival & Wellbeing’ initiated a discussion on the ethical, aesthetic, and utilitarian aspects of language revival. The talk provided substantial food for thought, encouraging further engagement and discourse on this important topic.

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