2023 International Literacy Prizes: Online applications and nominations are now open

2023 International Literacy Prizes: Online applications and nominations are now open


UNESCO has opened its call for applications for the 2023 edition of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes. It encourages all experts in literacy education to submit their applications and urge nominating organizations to recommend candidates from various parts of the globe.

As in the previous editions, six awards will be granted to individuals or organizations for their outstanding projects that promote literacy learning. For this year, the programmes are requested to reflect around the theme “Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for peaceful and sustainable societies”.

The theme emphasizes how literacy plays a crucial role in empowering individuals and communities to adapt and establish peaceful and sustainable societies, especially during times of change and social, economic, and environmental challenges.

The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes have been acknowledging excellence and innovation in the field of literacy for more than 50 years. To date, over 512 projects and programmes across the globe have been recognized and supported for their exceptional contributions in this area.

Who can apply and who can nominate?

The application is open to all governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals who contribute to the promotion and advancement of literacy learning through projects and programmes.  

Applications should be submitted to the nominating entities either the National Commission for UNESCO in the programme’s country, or a NGO in official partnership with UNESCO, who are encouraged to submit the nominated individuals, institutions, and organizations to UNESCO. The nominations will be assessed by an independent International Jury, composed of five experts based on the selection criteria.

Based on the recommendations of the International Jury, the Director-General of UNESCO will select the finalists to be awarded at the occasion of International Literacy Day on 8 September 2023.

Candidates can submit their applications through the online platform. For more information about the application and nomination process, kindly visit the official website of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes’ website.


  • Deadline for candidates to submit applications to nominating entities:  28 June 2023 (midnight, Paris time).
  • Deadline for nominating entities to submit their nominations to UNESCO: 12 July 2023 (midnight, Paris time).

About the Prizes

Approximately 763 million young people and adults, two-third of them being women, lack basic literacy skills worldwide. 267 million young people are not in employment, education or training. The pandemic further exacerbated the issue, as prior to COVID-19, there were already at least 617 million who had not attained minimum reading levels. To close the literacy gap and promote possibilities for future learning and social participation, UNESCO awards six laureates with two highly esteemed literacy prizes on annual basis:

  • The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize (3 awards): established in 1989 and supported by the Government of the Republic of Korea.

Each award winner receives a medal, a diploma and US$20,000.

This Prize gives special consideration to programmes that promote mother language-based literacy development which helps preserve linguistic diversity and empower individuals and communities to participate more fully in global conversations, work, and cultures.

  • The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy (3 awards): established in 2005 and supported by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

Each of the 3 winners receives a medal, a diploma and US$30,000.

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy acknowledges programmes that endorse various forms of literacy, including functional literacy, leveraging technological environments, in support of adults in rural areas and out-of-school youth. This Prize recognizes the importance of literacy in a world where connected technologies are increasingly integral to participation in areas of life, learning, and work.