World Literacy Council Conference 2015/2016*

The Annual Conference was held in Melbourne on the 11th of April 2015, at the Australian Catholic University’s St Patrick’s Campus. This marks the third Annual Conference following on from the last in Oxford, UK, in April 2014. A series of global dialogues have also taken place in the lead up to the Conference, with sessions taking place in China, Canada, Paris, Africa and Latina America.

The Conference was a great success with over 75 delegates registered and it now ranks as one of the world’s leading literacy-based conferences attracting interested individuals from across the world.

The theme Education and Literacy in Displaced Settings was the focus for discussion, exploring education and literacy in settings where learners have been displaced due to circumstances beyond their control. This included the lasting effects of colonialism, political changes, war, and health crises, as well as societal and personal issues.

The conference gave particular focus to issues relating to education and literacy amongst First Nations groups and Indigenous populations around the world, with particular reference to the problems faced by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. During the event, our global delegates and guests met with a range of honoured Indigenous Australians.

The World Literacy Council Awards

The 2015 Annual Conference also saw the inauguration of the WLC Annual Global Literacy Prizes. Strong gains are being made and champions of literacy need to be acknowledged.

These awards are nominated by the World Literacy Council members, and they are as follows:

  • The WLC Award for Change-maker of The Year
  • The WLC Award for Literacy NGO of the Year
  • The WLC Award for the Most Improved Country in Literacy
  • The WLC Indigenous Literacy Leadership Award

The Opening and Keynote Speech

The conference was officially opened by Keynote Speaker the eminent historian, academic and philanthropist Professor Geoffrey Blainey. During his address, Professor Blainey spoke of the value of education and literacy with insightful references to the displacement of populations. He further discussed the issues that the state of Victoria had to negotiate when establishing its education system and the continuing disadvantages that Indigenous Australians have faced since European settlement.

Special Guests

The Hon Judith Graley, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Education attended and presented a range of World Literacy Council awards
Mr Keith Hutchence, UK Chairman of the World Literacy Council
Professor James O’Meara, President of Global Coalition for Change
Mr MC Bhagat Vice Consul, Consulate General of India Melbourne
Ms Jutta Held, Culture & Press Attache, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Mr Rahul Singh, India Leadership Council
Hon Manuel Moreno Alcauce, Representing the Consul General of Spain
Dr Sylwia Greda-Bogusz, Representing the Consul General of Poland
Mr Peter Bakonyi, Head of Mission, Consular Office of Hungary

*The board of the WLC decided, due to clashes with the UNESCO Literacy Conference, to combine 2015 and 2016 and have the 2018 Summit in Oxford.

Professor Geoffrey Blainey

Keynote speaker, Professor Geoffrey Blainey at the opening of the World Literacy Conference.

Hon Judith Grayley

The Hon Judith Graley, presents Literacy NGO of the Yearto Mr MC Bhagat Vince Consul, accepting the award on behalf of Pratham Delhi.