President of the General Assembly of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al­Nasser

Celebrating International Literacy Day

Rethinking Literacy: How Far Have We Gone in Reaching the Literacy Goal?

10 September 2012
UN Headquarters, New York

in cooperation with
UNESCO,  the French Consulate
UN Women for Peace Association, Inc.






Eachyear,  theInternationalLiteracy Dayremindsthe internationalcommunityof thestatusofliteracyandfocusesglobalattentiononliteracyneedsandissues.  It encouragesMembersstates,  academiaandcivilsocietytostrengthen their Commitment to promoting literacy and achieving real progress. With that in mind, thisyear’sobservancefocusesontheneedfor moreeffectiveeffortsandcreative stepstakenatalllevels,  locally,  nationallyandinternationallytotackleissuesin Literacy and quality education.

Recognizingtheimportanceofliteracyfortheachievementoftheinternationally agreedgoals,  includingMDGsandEFA,  thePresidentofthe66th Sessionofthe UnitedNationsGeneralAssemblyisorganizingtheeventincooperation with UNESCO, the French Consulate and UN Women for Peace Association, Inc.

The event will be preceded by a luncheon that will be held next to the Vienna Café. This event will be an opportunity to share innovative and sophisticated ideas in combating illiteracy as well as to strengthen the partnerships between organizations that directly address educational issues.  The  event  will  feature  speakers  from  the  Millennium  Villages  Project, Harlem Academy, WomenOne, Eco Boys and Girls, Infinite Family, Noah’s Arc Foundation, and  the  National  Education  Association  and  the  Bridges  of  Understanding.  

The Millennium Villages project uses cutting-edge innovations across all sectors, including ICT tools and mobile phones for planning, data collection, and feedback on Indicators in agriculture, health and education. The Harlem Academy is an independent school that challenges bright, motivated children in Harlem to realize their full potential. WomenOne‘s mission is to create positive change in the lives of women and girls through education, health and leadership. Eco Boys and Girls engage youth and families to be aware of, involved with and connected to each other and the earth. Infinite Family inspires and motivates teens and pre‐teens in South and Sub-saharan Africa with limited resources and support, so that they build the confidence, skills and global perspective. Noah’s Arc Foundation instills values in its members  that  are  necessary  to  be  successful  in  life  through  the  practice  of basketball and sculpture.  The National Education Association advocates for education  professionals and  unites  its  members  to  fulfill  the  promise  of public education to prepare every student to succeed.  Lastly, Bridges of Understanding supports  projects  and  efforts  that  foster  better  understanding  between  the American people and people of the Arab world.


The 14th Session of UNESCO General Conference adopted, on 8 September 1966, the resolution1.141onAdulteducation,  literacyandyouthactivities,  proclaiming8 September as International Literacy Day.  United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) waslaunchedatUNHeadquartersin2003 inaGeneralAssemblyresolution.  The Decadeaimstoincreaseliteracylevelsandtoempowerallpeopleeverywhere. UNESCOleadstheUNLDunderthesloganof“LiteracyasFreedom”  andhas launched the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment(LIFE) in2005 as a framework for achieving the Decade’s goals.



H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al­Nasser, President of the General Assembly
Opening Remarks

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Earth Institute of Columbia University
Introducing “The Millennium Villages Project”

Mr. Bertrand Lortholary, Consul‐General of France in New York
Welcoming the International Literacy Day Initiative

Mr. Philippe Kridelka, Director of UNESCO Office in New York
How Far Have We Gone in Reaching the Literacy Goal?

Mr. Vinny Dotoli, Dean of Harlem Academy
Introducing the Children of Harlem Academy

Ms. Dayle Haddon, Goodwill Ambassador, United Nations International Children’s  Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and Founder and CEO of WomenOne   
Why it’s Important to Educate Girls?

Mr. Noel Brown, Founder and CEO of Friends of the United Nations  
Video Intro: Eco Boys and Girls Public Service Announcement for the Environment

Ms. Maria Snyder, Founder of Eco Boys and Girls Organization
Eco Boys and Girls and The Millennium Development Goals at The United Nations Book

Mr. Colin Cowie, Global Ambassador of Infinite Family
Introducing Infinite Family

Ms. Cecilia Rodhe, Founder of Noah’s Arc Foundation
Emotional Literacy - Video: Noah’s Arc Foundation

Mr. Phillip Chartouni,  Representative of Bridges of Understanding
Youth Perspective on Education

Ms. Daaiyah Bilal­Treats, Director,  ExecutiveOffice,  CenterforGovernance– National Education Association – (NEA) 
Introducing NEA

Mrs. Muna Rihani al Nasser, Chair, UN Women for Peace

Ms. Hanifa Mezoui, Special Coordinator Civil Society, Office of the President of the 66thGeneral Assembly.

Panel Moderator