By the President of the United States of America
Throughout our history, the United States has stood for the protection and promotion of human rights for all peoples. Central to these concerns are the political, social, and economic rights of all human beings. Our dedication to these rights stems from the belief that all people should be allowed to live their lives to the fullest of their capabilities, that the talent and character given each person by God should not be wasted.
Education is one of the most important gifts our society can give to its people in helping them fulfill their human potential. Especially in our modern world, adequate communication skills are essential. Education and training to promote literacy are central to our efforts to improve the lives of all people, and guarantee their basic human rights. Every illiterate adult is an indictment of us all.
In our own nation, and in nations across the world, significant efforts have been made to advance literacy, and bring its benefits to every man and woman. Our concern and dedication to this cause have brought results, but there still remains great progress to be made. Around the world, eight hundred million people lack effective reading or writing skills.
For the past 12 years, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has set aside September 8 as Literacy Day. The United States has always joined with other nations in recognizing the need to advance literacy among people everywhere, to promote our cherished human rights.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 8, 1978, as International Literacy Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to assess and strengthen our commitment to eliminating illiteracy both at home and abroad, recognizing that in so doing we are helping people everywhere open a gateway to many other human rights as well.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and third.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 2:51 p.m., August 21, 1978]