On 28 September 2020, this year’s three winners of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, from Ghana, Mexico and Yemen were honoured at a national award ceremony in Jining City in the Shandong Province of China.
The ceremony was sponsored and organized by the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO and the Jining People’s Government, and co-organized by the Jining Education Bureau and the UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education.
Ms Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, already recognized the three winners at the global webinar on 8 September on International Literacy Day (ILD). This year the theme of both ILD and International Literacy Prizes was ‘Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond’, with a specific attention given to the role of educators and changing pedagogies.
The 2020 UNESCO Confucius Prizes for Literacy were awarded to:
- Just Commit Foundation in Ghana for its ‘Inspirational Business Stories’ programme;
- University Center for Social Participation in Mexico for its ‘Literacy programme: learning by teaching’;
- General Literacy Office in Sanaa in Yemen for its ‘Educating and integrating refugees in literacy classes in Yemeni society’ programme.
Ms Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director General for Education, opened the ceremony with a video message: “By empowering youth and children through innovative and sustainable business and entrepreneurship skills, enrolling refugees in literacy classes, and providing activities related to learning and numeracy skills via training programmes to instill a social conscience and contribute to social change, these programmes have made a difference, and have contributed to fulfilling the right to education, of which literacy is a part”.
The winning programmes were represented by Mr Janix Asare, President of Just Commit Foundation (Ghana), Ms Mirta Isabel Figuerora Fernandez, Director of the Centro Universitario de Participación Social (Mexico) and Mr Abdulrahman Mohammed Mashof Al-Aslami, Media and Public Relation Director of the Literacy and Adult Education Office in Sana’a (Yemen).
“On behalf of the Just commit Foundation, I wanted to say that we are very pleased for this honor and we would like to thank you, the Delegation of People’s Republic of China to UNESCO”, said Mr Janix Asare from Ghana.
Ms Figuerora Fernandez from Mexico said: “We’ll continue our work to make visible what situation millions of people live in this world today. Thank you very much for that recognition, we feel very proud, but also very committed to continue working, to continue learning”.
“The prize is a pride for Yemen in general and for us in particular. We would like to thank the Chinese Government for their recognition and unlimited support for literacy programmes. Actually, this support will motivate us further to do our best in improving literacy education”, said Mr Al-Aslami from Yemen.
The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was established in 2005 with the support of the Government of the People’s Republic of China. It is awarded to excellent literacy programmes with special consideration to adult literacy learning in rural areas and out-of-school youth, particularly girls and women.