Literacy and Sustainable Societies

The theme of International Literacy Day 2015 is Literacy and Sustainable Societies. Literacy is a key driver for sustainable development. Literacy skills are the prerequisite for the learning of a broader set of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values, required for creating sustainable societies. At the same time, progress in areas of sustainable development, such as health and agriculture, serves as an enabling factor in the promotion of literacy and literate environments.  

New technologies, including mobile telephones, also offer fresh opportunities for literacy for all. We must invest more, and I appeal to all Members States and all our partners to redouble our efforts – political and financial – to ensure that literacy is fully recognized as one of the most powerful accelerators of sustainable development. The future starts with the alphabet.   

UNESCO Director-General

This year’s celebration of International Literacy Day, therefore, will be dedicated to exploring critical links and synergy between literacy and the future Sustainable Development Goals which will be adopted during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015.

As in previous years, International Literacy Day 2015 will be celebrated worldwide, bringing together governments, multi-and bi-lateral organizations, NGOs, the private sectors, communities, teachers, learners and experts.

A main global celebration will take place at UNESCO Headquarters, where a two-day event on Literacy and Sustainable Societies (8-9 September 2015) will be organized to prepare the ground for renewed literacy efforts by countries and partners in the post-2015 era. On 8 September, 2015 a ceremony will be held to award the 2015 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes 



International Literacy Day is being celebrated around the world. Here is a selection of projects and events taking place in honour of September 8.

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Algeria: Algerian Literacy Association (IQRAA )

As part of the International Literacy Day celebrations, the Algerian Literacy Association (IQRAA )will: award the “Ooredoo Literacy Prize”, co-organised by IQRAA and Ooredoo Algérie; inaugurate a “Women’s literacy, training and integration” centre in Ouled Yahia Khadrouche, Jijel; and launch an awareness-raising campaign in Jijel titled “A school for all from 6 to 16". More

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Brasilia, Brazil: UNESCO International Literacy Day Event

Together with the Ministry of Education of Brazil, the UNESCO Office in Brasilia will organise a series pf activities to celebrate International Literacy Day. They will also serve to highlight a lifelong learning programme the Brazilian Government is developing in partnership with the UNESCO Office in Brasilia. (coming soon)

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Brussels, Belgium: European Literacy Week – to be launched on 8 September

The European Literacy Network (ELINET) will launch Literacy Week in Europe on 8 September with a view to raising awareness of the literacy-related challenges faced in the region, and to taking steps towards ensuring that every European adult can read and write well enough to fully and independently participate in society. More

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Prey Veng Province: International Literacy Day Event, “Literacy Contributes to Reduce Migrants at Risk.”

Cambodia will celebrate by holding a national event in the Prey Veng province, under the theme "Literacy Contributes to Reducing Migrants at Risk."  The Minister of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), MoEYS leaders, a UNESCO representative from Phnom Penh, the Prey Veng Governor, ministries, NGOs, local authorities, students, literacy learners, and teachers will be attending the event where 30 learners who have excelled in literacy will be awarded prizes. In addition, all TV stations will broadcast news on the special day from 6 to 8 September and 25 different provinces around the country will hold their own events. More

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Nationwide, France: National Days of Action against Illiteracy

After the success of the first series of National Days of Action against Illiteracy in 2014, where 160 official events were held across France, the country’s National Agency to Fight against Illiteracy (ANLCI – Agence Nationale de Lutte Contre L’Illetrisme) will launch the 2015 edition of the initiative on International Literacy Day (8 - 13 September). Activities will include “open door” events, exhibitions, debates, presentations, concerts, screenings and visits, and will take place in both Metropolitan France and the Overseas Territories. More


Lyon: Agence Nationale de Lutte Contre L’Illetrisme

On 10 September Lyon welcomes actors and other decision-makers from countries across Europe to a meeting that sets out to combat workplace illiteracy. They will launch the “Illettrisme info service” public information number for the Literacy@Work project. The main goal of the initiative is to develop and improve the quality of workplace literacy training delivered in Europe, both for first-level employees and for business performance of companies. More

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Giessen: International Literacy Day Campaign

Giessen will be hosting an International Literacy Campaign. Educational institutions of the DGB of Hessen (Federation of Trade Unions), the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (Workers’ Welfare Association), and the Employer’s Federation will have information booths on the street from 3pm to 6pm on 8 September. The Forward Theatre group will also be a part of the campaign to actively involve the passers-by. In addition, the local media will be covering the campaign.

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Nairobi, Kenya: UNESCO regional event in Eastern Africa (tbc)

UNESCO’s Regional Office for Eastern Africa will organise a series of activities in Kenya and across the region to celebrate International Literacy Day. The occasion will also serve to reflect on the progress made and the work that remains to be done in respect of the corresponding Education for All goal (EFA Goal 4): “Achieving a 50 per cent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults”. More

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Mozambique: Ministry of Education and Human Development with the support of the UNESCO National Office to Mozambique

The Government of Mozambique celebrates International Literacy Day across the country on a yearly basis, while there is also a national high-level ceremony to mark the occasion (this year, said ceremony will take place in Sanga, Niassa, with the participation of the Vice-Minister of Education).


The UNESCO eAtlas of Literacy lets you explore and adapt maps, charts and ranking tables for indicators covering the youth, adult and elderly populations.

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In celebration of International Literacy Day 2015, the Kathmandu office, in collaboration with the Non Formal Education Center, is organizing a series of events .The activities will be carried out throughout the month of August and early September to raise awareness on the importance and challenges of achieving literacy for all in Nepal. More

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Khartoum, Sudan: UNESCO International Literacy Day Event

The UNESCO Office in Khartoum, together with Sudan’s UNESCO National Commission, the country’s Ministry of Education, the National Council of Literacy and Adult Education and UNICEF will organise an event underlining the work done to promote and advance literacy in the country. More

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United States of America

New York, USA: United Nations Headquarters (tbc)

The new sustainable development agenda will be adopted at the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly this September. In the framework of the meeting, an International Literacy Day event will take place at the UN’s headquarters in New York to raise the visibility of the challenges in the field, as well as providing a space for reflection on possible plans of action for and partnerships among the members of the international community. More


  • Literacy and Sustainable Societies

    8-9 September, Paris, France

Poster 2015