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International Literacy Day
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September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. It was 1st celebrated in 1966. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities & societies. On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy & adult learning globally. Celebrations take place around the world.
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(62.7%). Countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are Burkina  Faso (12.8%), Niger (14.4%) and Mali (19%). The report shows a clear connection between illiteracy and countries in severe poverty, and between illiteracy and prejudice against women.

Celebrations of International Literacy Day have included specific themes, in line with Education For All goals and other United Nations programs such as the United Nations Literacy Decade. The celebration's theme for 2007 and 2008 was “Literacy and Health”, with prizes awarded to organizations at the forefront of health education. This was also the thematic emphasis of the 2007-2008 biennium of the United Nations Literacy Decade. In particular, International Literacy Day 2008 had a strong emphasis on Literacy and Epidemics with a focus on communicable diseases such as HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, some of the world's forefront public health concerns. For 2009-2010 the emphasis was placed on “Literacy and Empowerment”, with special consideration to Gender Equality and the empowerment of women. The theme of the 2011-2012 celebrations is “Literacy and Peace”.

To raise public awareness of the extraordinary value of the written word and of the necessity to promote a literate society, the following writers are supporting UNESCO through the Writers for Literacy Initiative:[9] Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, Philippe Claudel, Paulo Coelho, Philippe Delerm, Fatou Diome, Chahdortt Djavann, Nadine Gordimer, Amitav Ghosh, Marc Levy, Alberto Manguel, Anna Moi, Scott Momaday, Toni Morrison, Erik Orsenna, Gisèle Pineau, El Tayeb Salih, Francisco Jose Sionil, Wole Soyinka, Amy Tan, Miklós Vámos, Abdourahman Waberi, Wei Wei, Banana Yoshimoto. Not only writers contribute to raising awareness to the problem of illiteracy: along with the writers’ engagement, there are various companies and charity organizations that support the fight against illiteracy. Some supporters of International Literacy Day include the Global Development Research Center, Montblanc, the National Institute for Literacy, and Rotary International.
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Do people really celebrate this holiday?
Yes they really do. Organizations work together for awareness to all.
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Who is UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (French: Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’Éducation, la Science et la Culture; UNESCO; /juːˈnɛskoʊ/) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).

Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the UN Charter. It is the heir of the League of Nations' International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation.

UNESCO has 195 member States (it recently added Palestine in November 2011) and eight Associate Members.

Most of the field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries; there are also national and regional offices.

UNESCO pursue its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information.

Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programmes; international science programmes; the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press; regional and cultural history projects; the promotion of cultural diversity; translations of world literature; international cooperation agreements to secure the world cultural and natural heritage (World Heritage Sites) and to preserve human rights, and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide. It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.

UNESCO’s aim is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information".

Other priorities of the Organization include attaining quality education for all and lifelong learning, addressing emerging social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.

The broad goals and concrete objectives of the international community — as set out in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) — underpin all UNESCO’s strategies and activities.
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Other September 8 Holidays and observances:

  •   1551 - The foundation day in Vitória, Brazil

  •   Andorra - National day: Mare de Deu de Meritxell.

  •   Pakistan - Defence Day (Pak-Naval Day)

  •   Bahá'í Faith - Feast of 'Izzat (Might) - 
            First day of the tenth month of the Bahá'í calendar.

  •   Republic of Macedonia - Independence day 
           (from Yugoslavia, 1991).

            Do it today day.

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  • Observed by: All UN member states
  • Date: September 8
  • Type: Secular Holiday
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About
Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

According to UNESCO’s "Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2006)", South and West Asia has the lowest regional adult literacy rate (58.6%), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (59.7%), and the Arab States