2021 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes

Deadline: June 27, 2021.

Since 1967, UNESCO International Literacy Prizes have rewarded excellence and innovation in the field of literacy. Over 500 projects and programmes undertaken by governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world have been recognized. Through these prestigious Prizes, UNESCO seeks to support effective literacy practices and encourages the promotion of dynamic literate societies.


  • Institutions, organizations and individuals promoting literacy through effective and innovative projects or programmes.
  • Eligible programmes or projects who have a proven record of innovative work in the field of literacy for at least three years.
  • Programmes/projects that have not been awarded the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes in the past five years.


  1. UNESCO will invite one representative of each laureate to the award ceremony, which takes place
    every year at the occasion of International Literacy Day on 8 September.
  2. Each laureate will receive an award, a diploma and the sum of US$20,000. The funds will be transferred
    to their bank account later after the award ceremony


The first stage is for an applicant to fill in and submit an application form through either a National Commission for UNESCO or an International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) maintaining official relations with UNESCO.

The second stage is for the concerned National Commission or international NGO to review and nominate the successful candidatures to the Secretariat of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes. 

For applicants – Application

  • To begin with, the applicant needs to request the access to the online form through this link: http://www.unesco.org/ilp/account, and specify in particular the submission channel (either a government via the National Commission for UNESCO, or an International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) maintaining official relations with UNESCO). Once your access is granted by the Secretariat, the applicant will receive an automatic notification to the email address indicated*.
  • The applicant needs to complete the online form (in English or in French). The applicant can attach relevant supporting materials (e.g. reports, publications) of less than 100 pages in total.
  • The applicant who opts for the government channel will then send the submission form with supporting materials to the appropriate National Commission (by selecting ‘YES’ under ‘Submit the application to a National Commission and clicking on “Save” at the bottom) by 13 June 2021 (midnight, Paris time).
  • The applicant who opts to apply through an international NGO maintaining official relations with UNESCO, needs to obtain a nomination letter from the NGO in question that recommends them for the Prizes. This nomination letter must be attached to the submission form by the applicant.
  • For this purpose, please identify an International NGO in official relations with UNESCO which is active in the related fields, notably literacy and send your application with supporting documents to that NGO. The applicant should then submit the electronic application form with the written nomination letter and supporting materials to UNESCO (by selecting ‘YES’ under ‘Submit the nomination to UNESCO (via NGO)” and clicking on “Save” at the bottom) by 27 June 2021 (midnight, Paris time).
  • If applicants have difficulties reaching an appropriate nominating entity, they should contact the Secretariat of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes for further guidance.
  • Please note that self-nominations will not be taken into consideration, and that any submission form missing a written recommendation issued by a Government of a Member State through the National Commission for UNESCO (directly in the form), or an International NGO which maintains official relations with UNESCO (a nomination letter in attachment), will not be accepted by the Secretariat of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes.

For Governments (National Commissions for UNESCO) and International NGOs – Nominations

  1. The relevant National Commission will receive a notification every time an application form is submitted to them for their nomination. The notification will contain a link to the online form, which will be accessible through the e-mail address associated with its generic UNESCO account.
  • To access the nomination form, the National Commission should:
  1. Follow the link provided to the application.
  2. On the login page, enter the username (in this format natcom.yourcountryname@natcom.unesco.org(link sends e-mail)) (For example, the username for the National Commission of China is natcom.china@natcom.unesco.org(link sends e-mail)); and
  3. Enter the password associated with the UNESCO account of the National Commission.
  • The National Commission reviews the forms received and nominates up to three submissions for the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, and up to two submissions for the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize.
  • To nominate a candidate, the National Commission should edit the form by entering a written recommendation in the appropriate fields, in English or French, and cover the following:
  • A description of the nominee’s background and achievements;
  • A summary of the work or the results of the work, publications and other supporting documents of major importance, submitted for consideration;  
  • A succinct evaluation of the nominee’s contribution to the Prize’s objectives.

It should then select ‘YES’ under ‘Submit a nomination to UNESCO’ and click on the button ‘Save’ at the bottom of page. The applicant will then be informed of the nomination.
Please submit the nomination(s) with a written recommendation to UNESCO via the online platform before 27 June 2021 (midnight, Paris time).  

  1. NGO which maintains an official relation with UNESCO, if solicited by a candidate and wishing to submit the nomination, should provide the applicant with a nomination letter to be attached by the applicant to the application form. Kindly send the recommendations to the concerned applicants via e-mail or mail before 27 June 2021 (midnight, Paris time).


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