What better topic for Virginia International University to honor than international literacy in our world. As an institution of higher learning that serves a diverse student population from all corners of the planet, we see firsthand the positive impact increased education and literacy has on the futures of our students, graduates, and their families. It is a “Game Changer” that empowers the individual to aim higher. Proficient reading and writing skills are the building blocks to successful countries and their citizens. Supporting literacy causes has permeated the culture of VIU throughout the years as our students and staff have become literacy ambassadors in the USA and overseas through volunteerism in the community and serving as teachers of the English Language to non-native speakers. It is a cause VIU truly embraces and celebrates.
Although International Literacy Day officially happened on Saturday, September 8, 2018, the message of promoting improved adult and child literacy rates across the globe continues throughout time. Historically, UNESCO picked September 8th as the official day to shine a light on issues surrounding literacy in our world. 1966 marked the year that began UNESCO’s recognition of International Literacy Day. The day became quickly aligned with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals program that was adopted in 2015 to highlight the changes and improvements in worldwide literacy development. UNESCO has been central to the cause of improving global literacy since 1946 and promotes International Literacy Day in partnership with charitable organizations, governments, local communities, and literacy experts worldwide. Literacy has extended its reach to not only the written word, but digitally now to accommodate the technological advancements that are part of every society today. The world is changing and so is UNESCO’s focus with its global literacy program.
In the United States of America, September is deemed as National Literacy Month. So the Literacy focus of September 8th has been extended all month long to promote reading and comprehension throughout this country. The United States has an adult literacy (aged 15 years and higher) rate of 99%. Empowering those in need of increased literacy for the digital age in our community is a goal VIU has chosen to embrace. In support of global literacy for all, Virginia International University’s Student Union will be collecting used books and videos in good condition to donate to Northern Virginia Family Service. Supporters can place their donations in the bins around campus to benefit literacy in our area. It’s the little things that make a difference and promoting literacy is the business of education. However one decides to recognize the cause of Literacy during this month, may they be inspired to touch a life with the gift of reading and understanding.