Belarusian-language enthusiasts on February 21 marked International Mother Language Day by a dictation session at the Catholic St. Simon and St. Helena Church (Red Church) in Minsk.
More than 50 people, including Ukrainian Ambassador Ihor Likhovyy and Swedish Ambassador Stefan Eriksson, took in the session, writing to dictation an excerpt from "The Land Beneath White Wings," a story by renowned Belarusian writer Uladzimir Karatkevich (1930-1984).
People all over the world have proved to very much like the idea of a Belarusian language dictation campaign, which was put forward three years ago by Uladzimir Padhol, an activist of the Francisak Skaryna Belarusian Language Society (BLS), BLS Chairman Aleh Trusaw said in his opening address.
According to him, last year dictation sessions took place in Italy, on the Swedish island of Gotland, in Warsaw and Prague, and in Australia, Canada and the United States.
"The BLS conducts this new dictation campaign in cooperation with the Batskawshchyna World Association of Belarusians with assistance from the Belsat TV channel, the Belarusian School Society, the Union of Belarusian Writers and other organizations," Mr. Trusaw said, noting that this dictation session was part of the first stage of the three-stage campaign.
He invited all interested people to take part in the next two stages, which are to be held on March 15, the 16th anniversary of the adoption of the first constitution of Belarus, which proclaimed the state language status of Belarusian, and on March 25, the 82nd anniversary of the 1918 Belarusian National Republic, which for the first time gave state language status to Belarusian.
Each session participant was presented with a copy of the 21st edition of a collection of funny quotes from Alyaksandr Lukashenka, which is released every year by Mr. Padhol.
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by UNESCO's General Conference in November 1999. The International Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.