» H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands gives keynote speech on Literacy and Multilingualism at Organiza...
09.09.2019 - Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors

H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands gives keynote speech on Literacy and Multilingualism at Organization Headquarters

© Cyril Bailleul

On 9 September, H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, 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'.

This occasion also commemorated the 10th anniversary of H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands’s mandate as a UNESCO Special Envoy.

An award-giving ceremony for the International Literacy Prizes also took place during the conference, which this year recognized projects from Algeria, Colombia, Indonesia, Italy and Senegal for outstanding work relating to literacy and multilingualism. 

Princess Laurentien was welcomed by the Assistant Director-General of Education for UNESCO Stefania Giannini, who expressed her gratitude for Princess Laurentien’s presence and the privilege it was to celebrate her “commitment, passion and knowledge”. Following this, Princess Laurentien was handed a medal commending her for 10 years of collaboration with UNESCO as a Special Envoy. 

The Princess’ speech then focused on reflecting on new strategies to develop inclusive education. Speaking at the conference, Princess Laurentien suggested that the earliest stages of language development occur before children begin attending school, through spoken language. She stated that communication between parents and children during these stages of development is “vital for laying the basis for children to learn to read and write”.

In addition, she stressed the necessity for teachers and parents to think inclusively. According to Princess Laurentien, for education to be successful, teachers should start co-sharing with their pupils and involving parents in the learning process. Princess Laurentien expressed her hope to test these analyses through her pilot project currently taking place in the Netherlands.

Following Princess Laurentien’s keynote speech, a panel session was launched with the title: ‘Literacy and multilingualism and inclusion, in which experts reflected on how to make literacy provision more inclusive in today’s multilingual societies, especially for speakers of non-dominant languages, as well as marginalized and vulnerable people.

Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands was appointed UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development in March 2009, in recognition of her outstanding commitment to the promotion of education through her Stichting Lezen & Schrijven Foundation (the Reading and Writing Foundation).

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