Since 1966 the 8th September has been declared the UN’s official International Literacy Day, a day to celebrate and reflect on that all important pre-cursor and consort to literature: literacy.
Although contemporary thought is redefining and evolving literacy to include and consider additional skills, it traditionally refers to the ability to read and write and therefore acts as the all important gatekeeper to contemporary and formal education. While obviously a fundamental aspect of personal development, as the key enabler to complex communications and social interactions literacy is also a cornerstone to social empowerment, and is a critical cultural aspect of civilization and an inviolate facet of the Zeitgeist.
With 20% of the world’s adults being illiterate—and 2/3 of them being women—International Literacy Day serves to remind the literate lucky that we all have a part to play in socially empowering the world. So for this year why not put the date in your calendar and do something to make a difference. Make a donation. Share some writing, or read to someone you share the day with. And while the road to global literacy might be slow, it’s worth remembering it’s the one road that binds all humanity together and allows us to share our thoughts and make sense of the wilderness around us.