06.09.2019 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

Literacy and Multilingualism - International Literacy Day

Message from Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of International Literacy Day 2019 “Literacy and Multilingualism” 8 September 2019.

Our world is rich and diverse with about 7,000 living languages. These languages are instruments for communication, engagement in lifelong learning, and participation in society and the world of work. They are also closely linked with distinctive identities, cultures, worldviews, and knowledge systems. Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is therefore a key part of developing inclusive societies that respect “diversity” and “difference”, upholding human dignity.

Today, multilingualism – the use of more than one language in daily life – has become much more common with greater human mobility and the growing ubiquity of multimodal and instantaneous communication. Its shape has also evolved with globalization and digitalization. While the use of certain languages has expanded for cross-country and community dialogue, numerous minority and indigenous languages have been endangered. These trends have implications for literacy development.

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