Building peace in the minds of men and women

UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy winners on study tour in China

15 October 2019

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© Chinese National Commission for UNESCO

On 25-28 September 2019, this year’s three winners of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy from Colombia, Italy and Indonesia were invited to Jining City in the Shandong Province of China on a study tour and to attend the Chinese Award Ceremony.

One month prior to the study trip, the three winners were already awarded the Prize by Ms Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education who represented the UNESCO Director-General at the Award Ceremony held at UNESCO Headquarters in conjunction with the International Conference on ‘Literacy and multilingualism’ (Paris, 9 September 2019) on the occasion of International Literacy Day.  

The 2019 UNESCO Confucius Prizes for Literacy were awarded to:

The winning programmes were represented by Ms María Lucía Vélez Ospina, Director of Camacol Antioquia Corporate Social Responsibility (Colombia), Mr Gde Nala Antara, Director, BASAbali (Indonesia) and Mr Nazzareno Vasapollo, Project Manager, Nuovo Comitato il Nobel per i Disabili (Italy).

As part of the study trip, the winners were invited to visit to the China Teachers Museum, the Confucian Temple, Kong Family Mansion and educational institutions in Jining.  

The Study tour in Qufu also included an International Seminar on Literacy and multilingualism, and culminated in an Award Ceremony and the Confucius Memorial Ceremony.

The International Seminar on Literacy and multilingualism was sponsored 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.

The Literacy Prize winners share their impressions from the study trip

“The trip to Qufu has been one of the most significant experiences for my personal and professional life because it has allowed me to know in greater depth the importance that traditions, values and education have for Chinese culture,” said Ms Vélez Ospina from Colombia about her experience of the study trip. “It was through the lived experience that I could know how all his people deeply respect the teachings that Confucius left to the Chinese people and that today, after thousands of years, are still rooted in their philosophy of life and culture, and of which they feel deeply proud.”

Mr Antara from Indonesia, said: “The history of teaching at the Confucius teaching center gave an overview in such detail. They describe the history of the development of teachings including the development of the script. I am also grateful that during the seminar I could share our experience of what we have done with BasabaliWiki to preserve local (Balinese) language in the digital world.”

”As a "citizen of the world" I consider the support of the People's Republic of China through the UNESCO Literacy Award an act of great cultural intelligence,” said Mr Vasapollo from Italy.

This year’s UNESCO International Literacy Prizes focused on ‘Literacy and multilingualism’ and were awarded to five laureates. The other two laureates from Algeria and Senegal won the King Sejong Literacy Prize.

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.

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