American First Lady cites GMR figures on literacy

US First Lady Laura Bush addressed a UNESCO luncheon at the UN this week in her capacity as Honorary Ambassador for the United Literacy Decade, a global UNESCO-led initiative to raise world literacy rates by 2012.

Speaking on the occasion of the United Nations Literacy Decade Mid-Decade Review Report, Mrs Bush cited the more than 770 million people who cannot read and write, while underlining the fact that 60 percent of them are women. She also mentioned the EFA Global Monitoring Report’s annual effort to assess progress towards increasing literacy and the importance of making a special effort to reach underserved populations like girls and women, out-of-school youth, and people living in rural or disadvantaged communities.

International literacy Day is celebrated each year on 8 September to mobilize awareness of the scope of the challenges involved as well as the ways it is being addressed.