Education Minister Dipu Moni handed over the award to the winners at the International Mother Language Institute in Dhaka on Sunday on behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who joined the ceremony via video conferencing.
The awardees include National Professor Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, who has been honoured for his contribution at the national level.
A Nazrul researcher, Prof Rafiqul is the first Nazrul Professor of Dhaka University’s Bangla Department and first director of Nazrul Research Institute.
The 87-year-old linguist also took part in the 1952 Language Movement actively and clicked rare photos of the movement.
A former vice-chancellor of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh and director general of Bangla Academy, Prof Rafiqul won the Ekushey Padak, Swadhinata Padak, and Bangla Academy Award among others.
Mathura Bikash Tripura, executive director of Jabrang Welfare Association in Khagrachhari, got the award for his work to protect the mother tongues of the small ethnic groups.
At the international level, the government conferred the award on Islaimov Gulom Mirzaevich, an Uzbekistan researcher, and The Activismo Lenguas or Language Activism of Bolivia.
Mirzaevich has played a role in research, practice and culture of mother language protection, promotion and revitalisation in Uzbekistan, and abroad.
The Activismo Lenguas is an online initiative to support networks of indigenous language digital activists in Latin America.
The biennial award has been launched this year, with two at the international level and two at the national level.
Prof Rafiqul and Mathura attended the event while Taher Shah, honorary consul of Uzbekistan, received the award on behalf of Mirzaevich. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen took the award on behalf of The Activismo Lenguas.