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UNESCO to celebrate World Kiswahili Day in Paris on July 5

THIS year, World Kiswahili Language Day will be celebrated on July 5 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. The event, chaired by the Permanent Delegation of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will be themed Kiswahili: education and culture of peace.

Kiswahili is one of the most widely spoken African languages, with over 230 million speakers globally, making it the most prevalent language in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the top 10 most spoken languages worldwide. Recognising its global significance, UNESCO’s General Conference proclaimed July 7 as World Kiswahili Language Day during its 41st session in 2021. This proclamation acknowledges Kiswahili’s role as a global communication tool and its integration into the daily lives of Africans, enriching its multicultural fabric.

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The celebration aims to enhance understanding of Kiswahili as a means of fostering peace and multiculturalism, highlight the contributions of renowned Kiswahili language advocates, and evaluate the availability of Kiswahili language resources and tools needed to promote a culture of peace. It also seeks to raise awareness of Kiswahili’s historical, current, and future international significance, encourage research and socio-cultural activities to strengthen multiculturalism through Kiswahili, and boost interest and usage of Kiswahili among young people via social media, music, and cultural activities focusing on peace.

The event will feature various activities at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, including an official ceremony, a panel conference on Kiswahili’s impact on education and peace, a cultural evening showcasing Kiswahili cultural expressions, and workshops for children to introduce them to Kiswahili. Additionally, a social media campaign will be launched to raise global awareness.

In addition to the Paris celebrations, national-level events will also take place, similar to those in 2023, involving UNESCO Field Offices, including the UNESCO Liaison Offices in Addis Ababa and New York.

World Kiswahili Language Day underscores the importance of Kiswahili in promoting cultural understanding and peace, reinforcing its status as a key player in global communication.

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