YEREVAN—On Friday, 43 schoolchildren received awards, gifts and certificates for participating in an online essay contest organized by UN Department of Public Information Yerevan Office (UN DPI) and its partners. The contest was organized within the framework of International Mother Language Day, a UN observance that promotes awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. The day also marked Book Donation Day, an Armenian observance.
In the ceremony organized at the National Library of Armenia, from the 43 submissions the jury announced four best entries as award winners, two more received acknowledgements. The contest was announced at the beginning of February through an event on the “Friends of UN – Armenia” Facebook group. The school-children from 8th to 11th classes were given a task to interpret in their own words how they see the role of their mother language in the modern world.
Armineh Haladjian, the UN DPI Officer-in-Charge, said: “This is the 15th time that the United Nations celebrates the International Mother Language Day. 70-year-old UN has always esteemed the role of the mother languages at the same time promoting multilingualism.” She highlighted the great importance of mother languages as a cultural and identity value of a nation, but she stressed also the growing significance of multilingualism in the modern global world where borders are transparent, cyberspace is boundless and online communication is immeasurable.
Haladjian congratulated the winners and thanked the coordinators and the teachers to help the school-children get involved in these events and encouraged the participants to continue their efforts to join similar initiatives through new technologies and social media.
Unlike the three earlier contests where the participation was exclusively from the regions of Armenia, this time Yerevan residents were prevailing. But still there was participation from cities and villages of Armavir, Ararat, Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Kotayk, Shirak and the remote Syunik regions.
All the contestants received certificates of participation and gifts from DPI, UNICEF and the National Library. The awards were kindly presented by Antares publishers and UNESCO National Commission.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has mentioned in her message on the day that education in the mother language is essential for advancing quality education for all and promoting education for global citizenship and sustainable development.
This was the fourth time that UN DPI along with its partners, Helsinki Committee of Armenia, Jinishian Memorial Foundation, Junior Achievements of Armenia, World Vision Armenia, has been organizing online contests and in which the schoolchildren from the network “Friends of UN – Armenia” take part. Established in March 2014, the members of the network are growing each day. Early this year the UNESCO-associated schools network also joined in.