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LANGUAGES MATTER! A UNESCO poster competition, 2009

Please see the official web site for more information and downloadable application forms.

LANGUAGES MATTER! A UNESCO poster competition
Social Theme: Education
Application Closes: January 19, 2009 at 06:00PM UTC
Public Voting: January 26, 2009 to January 30, 2009 at 06:00PM UTC
Results Announcement: February 03, 2009 at 06:01PM UTC

Create the 2009 UNESCO official poster of International Mother Language Day, February 21. A competition to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism.

Languages are essential to the identity of groups and individuals and to their peaceful coexistence. Only if multilingualism is fully accepted can all languages find their place in our globalized world. However, within the space of a few generations, more than 50% of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world may disappear. We must act now as a matter of urgency.

In November 1999, the General Conference of UNESCO proclaimed 21st of February "International Mother Language Day". This Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 ‘The International Year of Languages’, choosing UNESCO as lead agency for the celebrations. UNESCO subsequently launched an awareness-raising campaign, whose slogan was “languages matter”. This campaign has emphasized the importance of a wide variety of topics including linguistic and cultural diversity, literacy and mother-tongue-based education. This overarching impact of languages on human life was made clear in a call for action by UNESCO’s Director-General, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, “Languages are a strategic factor in advances towards sustainable development and the harmonious coordination of the global and the local. Far from being a field reserved for analysis by specialists, languages lie at the heart of all social, economic and cultural life. (…) Languages (…) matter in attaining the six Education For All (EFA) goals as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which the United Nations agreed upon in 2000. They matter when we want to promote cultural diversity, and fight illiteracy, and they matter for quality education, including teaching in the mother language in the first years of schooling. They matter in the fight for greater social inclusion, for creativity, economic development and safeguarding indigenous knowledge.”

Accordingly, the content of the official UNESCO International Mother Language Day poster for 2009 should reflect this interdisciplinary vision of the importance of languages.

Related Links:
Message from Mr Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO on the celebration of 2008,
International Year of Languages:
Languages Matter! 2008:
Education For All (EFA) Goals:
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):

This competition calls for a poster that celebrates International Mother Language Day on February 21 based on the slogan "Languages matter!"
The final printed poster will be A3-sized (297 × 420 mm or 11.7 × 16.5 inches).
Although the online entry provisions do not allow for the full A3 dimensions, your entry must include at least one image showing the entire poster design scaled to A3 proportions. (Note the “Entry Provisions” section outlined further down the page.)
The poster must contain at least the following text elements, both in English and in French together in the one design:
* The slogan: Languages matter! / Les langues, ça compte !
* The date: February 21, 2009 / 21 février 2009
* The name of the celebration: International Mother Language Day / Journée internationale de la langue maternelle
Note: Do not use the UNESCO logo on your entry. Instead, save a place on your design for where the logo would be positioned in the event that your poster is selected as the winning design.

For reference only, you can view the poster from 2008 here: URL_ID=55884&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

UNESCO will distribute the poster through its Member States and partners. Although you must submit your entry as web-resolution jpegs (see “Entry Provisions” below), the winning poster file must be made available as a print-resolution PDF. Winners will grant to UNESCO all reproduction rights related to the poster.

Entries are limited to text, images and video/audio files only. Entries that direct users away from the DESIGN 21 website will be disqualified. See the "How To Enter" Rules for full details on file type, size and number constraints and recommendations.
* Up to 400-word description (English only)
* Up to six (6) images of maximum image size 550 x 550 pixels, jpeg only, resolution 72 dpi. At least one image must be uploaded
* One (1) 480 x 320 pixel video file (optional) or one (1) sound file (optional)

January 19, 2009 (6pm UTC)

In addition to the stated judging criteria in our general rules, the judges will be looking for the ability to graphically and visually transform the “languages matter” message in a convincing and easy to understand way.

A prize money pool of $5500 will be allocated as follows:
UNESCO will select Overall Winner who will receive $3000 as well as an invitation to attend Mother Language Day at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
In addition, two DESIGN 21 Advisory Board members will select their individual Judges Pick with a prize of $1000 each.
As usual, members of the DESIGN 21 community will vote for their favorites during our online voting period; the Most Popular will receive $500.

To be announced. Representatives from the culture sector of UNESCO will be selecting the Overall Winner and members of DESIGN 21's Advisory Board will be making D21 Judges' Picks. Stay tuned for updates.
Application Closes: January 19, 2009 at 06:00PM UTC
Public Voting: January 26, 2009 to January 30, 2009 at 06:00PM UTC
Results Announcement: February 03, 2009 at 06:01PM UTC

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