Power of Language Week Call for Events: Focusing on Multilingual Identities and Belonging

The Power of Language Week Committee is excited to announce that the event submission form for the upcoming Power of Language Week is now open!

The Fries Center for Global Studies is proud to host the second annual Power of Language Week, celebrating the Bengali Language Movement and International Mother Language Day.

The Bengali Language Movement began in East Pakistan, or East Bengal, after it was declared by the Pakistani government that Urdu (primarily spoken in West Pakistan) would be the only official spoken language, rather than their native Bangla. In a stand against cultural assimilation and linguistic oppression, citizens of East Bengal protested for the recognition of their Bangla language over the course of five years.

In 1952, it was once again reiterated by the Pakistani government that Urdu was the only official language, triggering more widespread protests held on February 21st across East Bengal. This prolonged movement eventually gave rise to nationalist movements in East Bengal, leading to their declaration of independence on March 26th. It would take a liberation war for Bangladesh to finally be independent in 1971. Decades later, the 21st of February was officially declared by UNESCO as International Mother Language Day to commemorate the enduring impact by the citizens of East Bengal on the self-determination of language, and the importance of multilingual identities in an increasingly globalized world.

This year, POL will be hosted through Friday, February 16th to Friday, February 23rd. We strive to make Power of Language Week an opportunity to embrace all linguistic identities on campus through the exploration of our language community’s educational, personal, and cultural connections to language.  The themes for POL 2024 are:

  • Self-determination to preserve one’s mother tongue and one’s individual and collective multilingual identity 
  • Celebrate and foster equity, belonging, and diversity in language practice at Wesleyan 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Thais García Bagué at tgarcia@wesleyan.edu

Anyone interested in submitting an event proposal should visit the following link or scan the QR code below to fill out the event submission form by February 5th!