» 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day at the European Parliament and in Brussels
08.09.2016 -

50th anniversary of International Literacy Day at the European Parliament and in Brussels


This year marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day and UNESCO is celebrating it under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”. International Literacy Day 2016 celebrates and honours the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.

To celebrate 50 years of International Literacy Day, the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels held activities both in local bookstores and the European Parliament.

In Brussels bookstores, UNESCO bookmarks, customized on the occasion of Literacy Day, were handed out to mobilize citizens on this important topic.

At the European Parliament, Silvia Costa, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, underlined the importance of the 50 years of campaigning to achieve progress in literacy. Chair Costa indicated that although literacy has risen steadily thanks to better access to schooling and compulsory education, there are still 125 million youth and 758 million adults who are illiterate, two thirds of which are women.

Members of the European Parliament showed their support to the literacy movement through several statements.

MEP Julie Ward from the Socialists and Democrats Group explained ‘Celebrating the cultural diversity of European societies is, for me, crucial. And what is better than literature to celebrate it? Literature is an important tool for intercultural dialogue and exchanges.’ The President of the Socialists and Democrats Group, Gianni Pitella highlighted the relevance of this year’s theme through this quote: "Read the world held in a book, shape the world you want to live in". Full statement

MEP Helga Trüpel from the Group of the Greens stated ‘People who do not have the possibility to read cannot make their own decisions. It is about self-determination’. MEP Trüpel also indicated the gender bias in literacy and education, which is shown to also concern Europe. Full statement

Find out more about Literacy Day and its associated activities here.

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