World Poetry Day

21 March

Held every year on 21 March, World Poetry Day celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity. Practiced throughout history – in every culture and on every continent – poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.

UNESCO first adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard. World Poetry Day is the occasion to honour poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing and teaching of poetry, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and raise the visibility of poetry in the media. As poetry continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in.

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL

"Poetry is also this unique art that makes us aware of extraordinary human diversity: the diversity of languages and cultures. It is a meeting place between the individual and the world. It is an introduction to difference, dialogue and peace. It is testimony to the universality of the human condition beyond the innumerable means used to describe it."

—  Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, on the occasion of World Poetry Day

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