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UN English Language Day 2024 – April 23

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UN EnglishThe United Nations (UN) English Language Day is annually observed across the globe on 23 April to promote the global significance of the English language, one of the 6 official languages of the UN

  • The day 23 April also commemorates the birth and death anniversary of the English Playwright and Poet William Shakespeare.

English as a Global Tool:

i.English serves as a vital means of international communication.

ii.Despite diverse linguistic backgrounds, people worldwide utilise English for global cooperation and diplomacy.


i.The 1st ever UN English Language Day was observed in 2010 by the UN’s Department of Global Communications (DGC) as part of its initiative to establish language days for each of the 6 UN official languages.

Note: The 6 official languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish.

Purpose of the UN Language Days:

The primary objective is to promote multilingualism and cultural understanding while advocating for the equal usage of all 6 official languages across the UN.

Other UN Language Days:

  • Arabic Language Day: 18 December
  • Chinese Language Day: 20 April
  • French Language Day: 20 March
  • Russian Language Day: 6 June
  • Spanish Language Day: 23 April

English at the UN:

i.At the UN, English is one of the 2 working languages, along with French.

  • The other official languages may also be working languages in the Regional Commissions.

ii.On 1 February 1946, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 2 (I) established Chinese, French, English, Russian, and Spanish as official languages, and English and French as working languages.

Significance of Multilingualism at the UN:

i.Multilingualism fosters tolerance and enhances participation, which is crucial for effective communication within the UN.

ii.The DGC has set minimum standards for UN Web multilingualism to eliminate the “disparity between the use of English and the use of the other 5 official languages.”

  • It also aims to ensure the full and equitable treatment of all the official languages.

iii.The UNGA in its resolution of 6 December 1999 (A/RES/54/64) invited the appointment of a senior Secretariat official to serve as coordinator of multilingualism-related matters within the Secretariat.

2024 Event:

The UN Movie Society presented a global virtual launch event, “Shakespeare at the UN,” commemorating the English language day on 23 April 2024.

About United Nations (UN):
Secretary-General– António Guterres
Headquarters– New York, United States of America (USA)
Established in– 1945