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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
28-11-2003 3:30 pm The United Nations Literacy Decade (2003 - 2012) will be launched in Africa by UNESCO on December 4, in Grand Baie, Mauritius. The ceremony will also feature a roundtable discussion, an exhibition and a website about literacy in Africa.

The Decade will be launched on December 4 at 6.45 p.m. at the International Conference Centre in the presence of leading figures including Louis Steven Obeegadoo, Education and Scientific Research Minister of Mauritius, Michel Omolewa, President of UNESCO's General Conference, and John Daniel, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education. The ceremony will be followed by the inauguration of an exhibition entitled "Literacy in Action around the world".
On December 2, a roundtable discussion on literacy and gender equality will be held, featuring about 60 participants in the conference room of the Le Canonnier hotel. The key themes of the debate and examples of good practice will be published and distributed widely through the internet.

A website for the Decade of Literacy will be launched on December 1, in order to allow people to follow the activities of the Decade and to facilitate contact between the various parties involved. It will contain information on the different initiatives underway in the region. As the website develops, it is intended to become an "Interactive Observatory on Literacy in Sub-Saharan Africa", and a platform to better share experiences, resources and research. The site can be found at: www.unesco.org/africa/litdecade

The global launch of the United Nations Literacy Decade took place in New York in February 2003. The aim of the Decade is to give new impetus to efforts worldwide to reduce persistently high rates of illiteracy. According to UNESCO statistics, some 861 million people, or 20 percent of the world’s adults, cannot read or write or participate fully in the organization and activities of their societies.

Seventy percent of illiterate adults in the world live in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern and Western Asia, Arab countries and North Africa. Facts and figures about literacy and the action plan drawn up for the United Nations Literacy Decade can be found on the website of UNESCO's Education sector: www.unesco.org/education

Source Media advisory No 2003 - 104


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