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Room to Read Receives The Unesco 2011 Confucius Prize For Literacy

August 05, 2011

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Last week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced the six winners of its International Literacy Prizes for 2011, and Room to Read is proud to have been chosen as one of two recipients of UNESCO's 2011 Confucius Prize for Literacy.

Each year, UNESCO awards four prizes in recognition of excellence and inspiring experiences in the field of literacy throughout the world, and the theme of this year’s prizes was literacy and peace, with a special emphasis on gender equality. Room to Read was chosen in recognition of its efforts to improve literacy utilizing the talents of local writers and illustrators to create culturally-relevant reading materials in local languages through its Local Language Publishing program. To date, Room to Read has published 553 original children’s book titles in 25 different languages and printed more than 4.1 million books in eight countries (Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam).

“As an organization, we are honored by this amazing recognition of our success in helping to create imaginative and instructive children’s books that are well read and cherished by millions of children,” said Erin Ganju, Room to Read Co-Founder and CEO. “This award is also an incredible acknowledgment for our Local Language Publishing program and its efforts to empower talented authors and illustrators in developing countries to leave a legacy of original literature for children to learn from and enjoy for generations to come.”

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was established in 2005 through the support of the Government of the People’s Republic of China in honor of the great Chinese scholar Confucius. It is meant to recognize the activities of outstanding individuals, governments or governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in literacy. Other prizewinners include literacy programs in Burundi, Mexico, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—and all were chosen by an international jury earlier this month.

Room to Read will officially accept the prize—including a $20,000 grant and a silver medal—on September 8 at UNESCO’s International Literacy Day celebration in New Delhi, India. Additionally, Room to Read’s programs will be featured by the UNESCO Literacy Prize Secretariat at a photo exhibition from September 3-10 at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.

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