Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development

HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development

Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, expert on literacy, was appointed UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development in 2009. Since the designation as a UNESCO Special Envoy, Princess Laurentien has acted as an advocate for the cause of literacy all over the world.  She has been supportive of UNESCO’s efforts to scale up literacy efforts.

As a firm believer that literacy constitutes a human right, Princess Laurentien has been recognised for her outstanding work in defending this right since 2003.  She created the Reading & Writing Foundation (Stichting Lezen & Schrijven) in 2004, and became patron of various organizations such as the Braille, Talking Library of the Netherlands and the Association of Public Libraries. She is also holder of the ABC prize for literacy.

Moreover, she is currently the president of the European Cultural Foundation, an independent pan European institution developing cultural programs and funding grants for European projects related to culture and education. In 2012, she presided over the High-Level Expert Group of the European Union, appointed by the European Commissioner for Education. Its final report made recommendations for a structured European action to fight against illiteracy.

In March 2012, Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands participated in the “All Children Reading” Workshop in Kigali, Rwanda, organized by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), of which UNESCO is a member.

In May 2012, Princess Laurentien then joined the Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, and then UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova at UNESCO Headquarters, to review the achievements of UNESCO’s Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education during its first year. The Global Partnership was launched in 2011, armed with the conviction that education for girls’ and women has the power to break cycles of poverty and achieve greater social justice.

In September 2019, Princess Laurentien participated in International Literacy Day by making a keynote speech at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in the framework of the International Conference on 'Literacy and Multilingualism'. During this speech, Princess Laurentien focused on reflecting on new strategies to develop inclusive education. This occasion also commemorated the 10th anniversary of Princess Laurentien’s mandate as a UNESCO Special Envoy, for which she was awarded a medal.

Princess Laurentien attends participated in International Literacy Day on an annual basis, which is usually celebrated on 8 September at UNESCO Headquarters.

 

 

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