Literacy and Peace

The theme of International Literacy Day 2012 is Literacy and Peace. This theme was adopted by the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) to demonstrate the multiple uses and value that literacy brings to people. 

Literacy contributes to peace as it brings people closer to attaining individual freedoms and better understanding the world, as well as preventing or resolving conflict. The connection between literacy and peace can be seen by the fact that in unstable democracies or in conflict-affected countries it is harder to establish or sustain a literate environment.

  Education brings sustainability to all the development goals, and literacy is the foundation of all learning. It provides individuals with the skills to understand the world and shape it, to participate in democratic processes and have a voice, and also to strengthen their cultural identity.    

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General

About the Day

For over 40 years now, UNESCO has been celebrating International Literacy Day by reminding the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning. 

 

Why is Literacy important?

Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy.

Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy. There are good reasons why literacy is at the core of Education for All (EFA).

A good quality basic education equips pupils with literacy skills for life and further learning; literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing development.

 


International Literacy Day Poster
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Milestones

Starting from 2003, when UNESCO took the lead of the the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012), and going back to 1946, when UNESCO first established a committee to promote ‘Fundamental Education’, review the major milestones on the road to Literacy for All. More

MAIN EVENTS

Join the celebration

  • Donate books and reading materials to your local school or community centre

  • Start a reading club

  • Volunteer to teach literacy classes in your community

  • Become a mentor of a non-literate person

  • Send your literacy stories to joinliteracy(at)unesco.org

Message by H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands on the Occasion of International Literacy Day from United Nations on Vimeo.