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       Volume 6 | Issue 11 | March 18, 2012 |


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Celebration of Language at UTD, USA

Shakil Mohammed

The Bangladeshi Student Organisation (BSO) of The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) organised an event on campus on February 24, 2012 to celebrate the International Mother Language Day. BSO at UTD was established in 2001 with a vision of introducing the rich history and heritage of Bangladesh to the outside world, and extending logistical assistance to incoming students from Bangladesh. The recent event, focusing on Bangla and other international languages along with the history of the Language Movement of 1952, was a part of the continuous efforts of the organisation's motto. This year, along with BSO, Indian Student Association, Friendship Association of Chinese Students and Scholars, Japanese Student Association, Korean Undergraduate Student Association, Turkish Student Association, Middle Eastern Student Association, Mexican Association of Students and students from Thailand took part in the event.

BSO UTD members and friends celebrating language.

The event kicked off with the speech by Dr Rainer Schulte, Endowed Professor and Director of the Center for Translation Studies at UT Dallas, where he stressed on the importance of translation between languages and its practice in modern literature. He mentioned that translating a foreign language into one's native tongue would only be meaningful if the structure of the original expression is well preserved.

The welcome speech was delivered by Lisabeth Lassiter, Assistant Director of the International Student Services Office of UT Dallas. Monique Wedderburn, Director of the Asia Center at UT Dallas, next welcomed everyone to this unique event and thanked the participating student organisations for their presence.

A number of documentaries comprised the programme content of the evening, including a presentation on the historical events that led to the Language Movement in 1952, a short video produced by members of BSO, featuring foreign students speaking in their mother tongue and welcoming the International Mother Language Day. Another short documentary on the origin and development of the Chinese language was also shown during the event.

Middle eastern dance Dabeka

Among the various live performances, some of the notable ones included Japanese Haiku Poems, Chinese Huangmei Opera, Mexican country music, Middle Eastern Dabeka dance and traditional Indian folk dance among others.

The Bangladeshi students commemorated the Language Movement of '52 and the Liberation War of '71 through poetry recitation, classical and patriotic dance and chorus. At the closing segment of the event, BSO's very own Taufiq Hasan and his band Dhumketu rocked the stage with their songs.

Nearly 200 guests from UT Dallas and the Bangladeshi community of greater Dallas Fort Worth metroplex attended the event. BSO along with the other student organisations had setup individual stalls to display their language by showcasing books, posters and multimedia. The guests also had the opportunity of learning to write their names in different languages.

BSO believes this is only the first of what will be an annual awareness drive of the International Mother Language Day in the coming years with increasingly larger audience and broader range of activities.

(The writer is a PhD candidate at The University of Texas at Dallas, USA)

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