The United States has given $2 million to launch a fund to promote literacy around the world as part of a global push by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, to ensure basic skills among children and adults. UNESCO will seek donations from other countries, as well as aid agencies and the private sector, to expand on the initial funding provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
First lady Laura Bush is the honorary ambassador for the 6-year-old literacy initiative, and will continue in that post through 2012. The money will be used to pay for international conferences, as well as UNESCO’s plan to expand literacy programs in 35 countries with low literacy rates.
In addition, the organization announced last week that governments, charities, and private organizations had pledged an additional $4.5 billion for the Education for All initiative over the next three years. The program aims to ensure primary schooling for the 75 million children around the world who are out of school.
A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2008 edition of Education Week