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2021 edition of UNESCO International Literacy Prizes


Deadline: 13 & 27 June 2021

UNESCO opened its call for applications and encourages all champions in the field of literacy learning to apply for the prestigious UNESCO International Literacy Prizes. This is also a call for nomination entities to be ready to engage and nominate their favorite candidates from around the world.

Like every year, UNESCO rewards six individuals or organizations for their outstanding projects that promote literacy learning. This year the projects and programmes are requested to reflect the theme ‘Inclusive distance and digital literacy learning’.

The theme highlights innovative practices that literacy promoters have been initiating as a way to ensuring the continuity of literacy learning during the COVID-19 crisis. By finding solutions for continuing literacy learning for even the most vulnerable populations has made a difference during a critical time, where face-to-face teaching and learning is restricted. In line with the UNESCO Strategy for Youth and Adult Literacy, the focus is, but not limited to, literacy learning in a lifelong learning perspective. Throughout the pandemic, distance learning has shown many faces and been supported by high-, low- and no tech solutions as well as hybrid learning that combined face-to-face learning.

The laureates will be celebrated on International Literacy Day, on 8 September.

Since 1967, the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes have rewarded excellence and innovation in the field of literacy. Over 500 projects and programmes around the world have already received recognition and support for their excellent work.

Who can apply and who can nominate?

Governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals who promote literacy through projects and programmes are welcome to apply. All applications should be submitted to nominating entities, such as the National Commission for UNESCO in the country of the programme, or an NGO that is in an official partnership with UNESCO.

Candidates can submit their applications through the online platform. Details about the application and nomination process are on the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes’ website.

National Commissions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in official partnership with UNESCO are encouraged to nominate individuals, institutions and organizations who are making outstanding contributions to promoting literacy and who request a nomination.

  • Deadline for candidates to submit applications to nominating entities: 13 June 2021 (midnight, Paris time).
  • Deadline for nominating entities to submit their nominations to UNESCO: 27 June 2021 (midnight, Paris time).

The nominations will be assessed by an independent International Jury, composed of five experts on the basis of the selection criteria. Based on the recommendations of the International Jury, the Director-General of UNESCO will select the finalists to be awarded at the occasion of International Literacy Day (8 September).


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