MSLS Alumni's Submission to Design Competition Gets Recognition

By Jennifer Nichols

In November 2008, UNESCO and its partner Felissimo Group (Japan) launched the 'Languages Matter!' competition for the creation of the 2009 UNESCO official poster of International Mother Language Day (21 February). This initiative was part of the DESIGN 21: Social Design Network programme.

Liane Fredericks, Tim Nichols and my poster was selected along with ten other for honourable mention out of  1133 entries from 85 different countries. You can see our entry here:
under the "winners" category!

The three of us worked together long-distance between Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Together we created the image of a tree with roots made up of various translations for "Language Matters" with the top of the tree growing into the continents of the world. A few Latin and ancient Tagalog characters fall from the branches to acknowledge disappearing languages.

languages matter poster

The project was also a collaboration between friends from five continents who offered translations. We received phrases in Arabic, Swedish, Yoruba, Persian, Cantonese, Icelandic, Hebrew, Mohawk, Russian, Dholuo, Igala, Spanish, Portuguese, Urdu, American Sign Language and several more.  All the translations can be seen on my blog:

We continue to collect translations. It is exciting to see how many languages we can represent from the 6000-7000 in Earth's rich ethnosphere. We think offering this translation challenge to the Mother Language Day audience through the Design21 website would be a meaningful extension of the poster project.

This design became a way of uniting us. By sharing ideas across cultures we have created a symbol of unity with a spirit of diversity within peaceful coexistence.

I am captivated by many of the entries and feel honoured that our group effort is part of the exhibition. Thank you to UNESCO and Design21 for the fun opportunity to show off our passion for conserving human culture and the ethnospere.


Congratulations guys! Awesome work!

This story is included in the Winter 2009 edition of the Trunk & Branches newsletter. To view the full newsletter, please click here.



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