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Photo credit, from top to bottom: Alex Block, Chuttersnap, Valentin Salja.
Each year, on 23 April, celebrations take place all over the world to recognize the scope of books – a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures. On this occasion, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a year to maintain, through its own initiatives, the impetus of the Day’s celebrations.
23 April is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books.
By championing books and copyright, UNESCO stands up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge, with the work across the board – from the Creative Cities of Literature network to promoting literacy and mobile learning and advancing Open Access to scientific knowledge and educational resources. With the active involvement of all stakeholders: authors, publishers, teachers, librarians, public and private institutions, humanitarian NGOs and the mass media, and all those who feel motivated to work together in this world celebration of books and authors, World Book and Copyright Day has become a platform to rally together millions of people all around the world.
“Books are a form of cultural expression that lives through and as part of a chosen language. Each publication is created in a distinct language and is intended for a language-specific reading audience. A book is thus written, produced, exchanged, used and appreciated in a given linguistic and cultural setting. This year we highlight this important dimension because 2019 marks the International Year of Indigenous Languages, led by UNESCO, to reaffirm the commitment of the international community in supporting indigenous peoples to preserve their cultures, knowledge and rights.”
— Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day
International days are celebrations and calls to action. They are for everyone to participate in. This is how you can take part in an International Day in three simple steps.
This is the best way to engage with an International Day. You will find valuable resources on UNESCO's main website, linked on each one of these International Day pages.
Sharing posts, articles, and even this page is a great way to spread awareness online and give the opportunity to your network to engage and gain knowledge on an important global issue.
Learning about an important cause, topic or celebration is the first step in teaching it. The E in UNESCO stands for Education and these International Days are unique opportunities to transmit values to younger generations.
Are you a teacher, a business owner or simply an interested citizen? Discover how you can bring these important days to life and learn more about what has been achieved through them.
International days also provide a unique opportunity to engage citizens on global issues, to mobilise political will and resources to address these problems, but also to celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity as well as remember some of our darkest times as they guide us towards building a better world.
The United Nations International Days are for everyone, all around the globe. Because they are open, you can have an important role to play in them. NGOs, universities, schools, press and more will be putting together campaigns, events, and calls to action worldwide to provide further opportunities to engage, learn, and transmit the values and knowledge associated with each International Day. They serve as an important vehicle to connect the local to the international.
At their root, UN International Days contribute to the achievement of the purposes of the UN Charter and promote awareness of and action on important political, social, cultural, humanitarian or human rights issues. International days are at the heart of the United Nations Charter. They work to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as neighbours, and to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.