09.09.2012 - ODG

Thailand Celebrates International Literacy Day 2012 with the Director-General

© UNESCO\D. Schlenker -UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova with the Minister of Education of Thailand, Mr. Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech, visiting the exhibition in front of the conference room after the ceremony marking International Literacy Day, which took place at Miracle Grand Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday Sunday 9 September.

Before a conference room filled to capacity, the Director-General participated in the opening ceremony of the 2012 International Literacy Day in Bangkok, Thailand, along with Professor Dr Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech, Minister of Education of Thailand as well as ministers and vice ministers from Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, India, Myanmar, and Nepal.

The ceremony was broadcast live to 177 countries across the world.

Irina Bokova declared "literacy provides men and women with skills to shape the world to their aspirations." She underscored the importance of literacy for empowering individuals, for healthier families, for sustainable social and economic development.

"Literacy is a power for peace -- it is also a force for development," she declared. The Director-General underlined excellent projects underway in Thailand and across the world to combat illiteracy. But, she said, "we must scale up efforts in formal and non- formal pathways at the local, national and international levels."

She congratulated the Government of Thailand for its long-standing commitment to promote literacy to all Thai citizens, including through Community Learning Centres.

Dr Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech, Minister of Education of Thailand, opened the ceremony, emphasising the central importance of education for the sustainable and inclusive development of Thailand. He drew attention to the scale of efforts undertaken by the Government to promote literacy throughout all parts of Thai society, with special emphasis on marginalized groups and reaching women.  He also highlighted Thailand’s leadership in promoting Community Learning Centres across South Asia to empower local communities.

The official ceremony saw the Minister and Mrs Bokova opening a six-meter high digital book, symbolising open access to knowledge for all.

During the ceremony, the Minister and the Director-General presented the Thailand Literacy Awards to seven programmes and individuals that have excelled in providing literacy throughout Thai society, and especially the most marginalised. Designations were awarded to a range of activities, including those for stateless people, hilltribe people, foreign workers, persons with disabilities, Thai Muslims and also sea gypsies.

The ceremony was followed by a tour through an exhibition showcasing literacy promotion with a range of hard-to-reach and disadvantaged groups, using a wide variety of means, including ICTs, community learning centres, as well as Karaoke for literacy.

Bangkok has been designated World Book Capital 2013, in recognition of national and international efforts to promote reading and literacy.

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