– Languages are important, not only as a means of communication, but also as an integral identity component of every individual and nation, for bridging differences, tolerance and mutual acceptance. Our mother tongue, the Macedonian language, is a reality in the world treasury of languages through science, culture and education, protected, untouchable and unique, said Culture Minister Bisera Kostadinovska-Stojchevska at an event observing International Mother Language Day hosted by Krste Misirkov Macedonian Language Institute in Skopje on Wednesday.

She highlighted the strong partnership with the institute and the importance of the Law on Use of Macedonian Language.

“We are partners with the Institute in numerous projects, as well as for the adoption of the new Law on Use of Macedonian Language. This means that we are moving in the right direction in terms of protecting the Macedonian language and the promotion of all languages spoken on the territory of our country,” Kostadinovska-Stojchevska told reporters.

Together with the institute’s director and all members, she added, they are working on promoting the rights of Macedonian language speakers, as well as all other languages and publications financed by the Ministry of Culture.

Macedonian Language Institute director Elena Jovanova Grujovska pointed out that the institute, as the biggest promoter and protector of the Macedonian language, this year will proudly mark the 150th anniversary since the birth of the patron and first informal promoter of the Macedonian language, Krste Petkov Misirkov, and 80 years since the first plenary session of Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM) for the proclamation of a Macedonian nation and making Macedonian the official language.

“After decades of effort, Macedonian people fought for the recognition of the Macedonian language. That is why we respect people’s wishes, but also of all people in the world to speak their mother tongue,” Jovanova Grujovska noted.

In order to know and respect our mother tongue, she added, we also have to know the people living around us.

“In recent years, on International Mother Language Day, the institute opens its doors to all speakers of different languages living in our country, as a way to show respect and desire to learn about diversity. This shows our level of knowledge of the language and culture. Therefore, translating to and from Macedonian will help expand our literature and cultural code, and make it available to other people around the world,” stated Jovanova Grujovska.

Institute advisor Borche Arsov said that on this day “we need to take care of our mother language”, and wished for all primary and elementary school students speaking different languages in the country and abroad to preserve, respect and nurture mother languages because they teach, educate and shape.

“On this day, apart from reminding you of the duty of taking care of your mother tongue, I also want to tell you to love the Macedonian language as it is a strong pillar of our society on which we can and should rely, a bridge for linguistic, cultural and spiritual existence,” highlighted Arsov.

February 21 was declared to be International Mother Language Day by UNESCO in 1999. It has been observed throughout the world since February 21, 2000.