The Bangladeshi Student Association at the University of New Mexico celebrated International Mother Language Day on Sunday in the African American Performing Arts Center.

During the first part of the event, students had the opportunity to learn about International Mother Language Day and it’s importance, said Ishtiaque Anwar, director of media and communications for BSAUNM. During the second half, attendees were able to learn more about the tangible and intangible heritage of Bangladesh, ITS traditions and culture.

The event celebrated linguistic diversity and multilingualism for sustainable development. BSAUNM invited students of all nationalities to enjoy an afternoon of culture and the promotion of multilingualism.

Students were given the opportunity to experience traditional Bangladeshi food, music, recitation, a fashion show, acting and more, Anwar said. Photographs showcasing the cultural heritage of Bangladesh were displayed throughout the African-American Performing Arts Center.

BSAUNM traditionally celebrated International Mother Language Day through the notion of keeping the spirit of “ekushe” — meaning history — alive, which is traditionally done through fairs, cultural programs and exhibitions.

The documentaries, “International Mother Language Day” and “Exotic Bangladesh,” were also shown during the event. Anwar directed both documentaries, with assistance from Amanul Hasan.

“We have not only invited students of other nationalities, we have also involved them as performer(s). We have filmed a short video where all actors’ (non-Bangladeshi international students) dialogue was in Bangla. I can say, all of our performer(s) enjoyed that and the audience will love that too,” Anwar said.

The documentaries showcase about 20 of UNM’s international students saying the same phrase in their own mother language.

“Some of the students also expressed on how they feel about their mother tongue,” Anwar said.

In effort to promote linguistic diversity on campus, BSAUNM will be publishing a multilingual magazine consisting of articles of all languages.

Nine years ago, there were only 10 students from Bangladesh at UNM, but now there are over 60 — and that number is increasing, Anwar said.

“BSAUNM represents UNM to the Bangladeshi community in USA and also to the people of Bangladesh,” Anwar said.

Shayla Cunico is a culture reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @ShaylaCunico.