By Terence Dooley
Boxing brothers Amir and Haroon Khan have added heavyweight support to Manchester Metropolitan University’s Mother Tongue Other Tongue project, a multilingual poetry competition that highlights and celebrates the wealth of languages spoken in schools across the U.K.
The project is led by Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate, and was developed by the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at MMU and Routes into Languages North West before being rolled out nationally. School children are encouraged to share a lullaby, poem or song from their Mother Tongue and to explain what it means to them. Children learning another language can also show their creatively by writing a poem in that language.
Amir, 28-3 (19), won Silver in the 2004 Games; he has won multiple world titles since then and flies the flag for the U.K. over in America. The Bolton-based boxer unites a wide cross-section of fans; he also understands the importance of competitions such as these and is keen to encourage pupils to apply themselves in school as stringently as he has applied himself to boxing during his successful career. He is closing in on a fight with consensus pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather and has consistently told BoxingScene that his speed will be the antidote to Mayweather’s counter punching style.
“This is a fantastic project and initiative which helps to bring better understanding between the many diverse people that make up this great country,” said Khan when speaking to BoxingScene.
“It’s a chance for us to celebrate multiculturalism and for us to get to know one another even better. Speaking another language is a great asset to have and to express that through poetry shows a really high level of skill. It’s something to truly admire because I know, like boxing, it’s not easy to do — I encourage all the young people to enjoy the competition and to give it a go.”
Haroon represented Pakistan in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, where he netted a Bronze medal in the flyweight division. Haroon knows the important of competing and was keen to encourage current winners and future entrants.
“This is a brilliant competition and one that can help break down barriers,” said Haroon, who fights on a Coldwell Boxing bill at Ice Sheffield on February 7. “I give my full backing to it and wish everyone competing the very best. It’s a chance to be creative and express yourself in your mother tongue or in a language which you are not so familiar with. It’s an opportunity for everyone taking part to learn and progress which is really excellent to see.”
For more information visit: http://www2.hlss.mmu.ac.uk/mother-tongue-other-tongue/.
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