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Belarusian FM: Mother tongue is pillar of statehood

Society 21.02.2019 | 17:49
Vladimir Makei
Vladimir Makei

MINSK, 21 February (BelTA) – Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chairman of the National Commission for UNESCO Vladimir Makei emphasized an important role of the Belarusian language as he addressed an event timed to the International Mother Language Day and the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of Belarus at the National Library on 21 February, BelTA has learned.

“It is a great honor and pleasure for me to be part of this event to mark the International Mother Language Day which is timed this year to the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of Belarus. The Constitution of Belarus embraced the continuity of many-centuries of the country's history and is based on the inherent right of the Belarusian people to have a nation state. It guarantees that every citizen of the country can enjoy the freedom and the right to have a good job, a decent life, and opportunities for personal growth,” he noted.

Vladimir Makei said that Article 17 of the Constitution formalizes the official status of the Belarusian language along with the Russian language. “Our language defines us as a mature nation with our own mindset and outlook, it reflects the background, values and traditions of the Belarusian people. It is part and parcel of the national identity of Belarusians and a solid foundation of statehood,” the minister underlined.

The mother tongue plays a crucial role in all the areas of social, economic and cultural life; it helps us grow and gives us something to lean on during our entire life, the minister said. Vladimir Makei cited Belarus' national poet Yakub Kolas: A native tongue is our first instrument to discover the life and the world”.

“Indeed, the native language teaches self-respect. It also teaches to respect history and culture, and, above all, other people. Linguistic diversity is our greatest chance to build a stable future,” the minister said. It not only provides an understanding of other cultures but also opens up possibilities for dialogue necessary for effective international cooperation. Belarusian novelist and playwright Ivan Melezh once said: “The language is a great national treasure. You cannot disrespect it as you cannot disrespect your people.” According to the minister, “understanding the immense value of the Belarusian language, we are working today to ensure its continuity and transition to next generation. It is with respect that we treat all other languages”.

He stressed that the constitutions of the countries have a large impact on the lives of every citizen, while the language by definition is an important element of statehood. Vladimir Makei read out the preamble of the Belarusian Constitution.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Belarus, international organizations, and members of the National Commission for UNESCO. Representatives of the diplomatic corps read out excerpts from the constitutions of their countries. The participants of the event also attended the exhibition of the basic laws of different countries from the library's holdings, and the exhibition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of the BSSR.

The event was accompanied by a concert by students of the Belarusian State Academy of Music.

The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly with the National Library.

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