Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on International Literacy Day

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
September 8, 2010


On International Literacy Day, I am proud to serve in an Administration that is restoring the United States’ leadership in education and rewarding excellence in classrooms across the country. As we recognize the unparalleled power of education to change the lives of individuals around the world, let us not forget how vital it is to the aspirations of our nation.

More and more, we live in a world that views knowledge and analytical skills as its most precious commodities. That’s why the Obama Administration has made unprecedented investments in education, beginning with “Race to the Top,” which delivers competitive grants to states that commit to reform in the classroom. We are also investing in early childhood education programs, expanding Pell Grants and extending education tax credits to improve access to higher education.  Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we have authorized billions of dollars to improve student achievement and reward outstanding teachers, while recruiting the very best and brightest to the field of teaching.

Even as we invest in education at home, we must continue to promote literacy beyond our shores. Just like conflict, disease and poverty, the lack of access to basic education – anywhere – diminishes our common humanity and threatens our common security. Through its Basic Education Program, the U.S. Agency for International Development is partnering with other donors and developing countries to expand education for women and girls. In Afghanistan and Iraq, we have rehabilitated schools and funded accelerated learning programs for students whose education has been interrupted by conflict. At the United Nations, we recognize the good work of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), among others, to strengthen educational institutions and expand opportunities.

We also remain committed to the goal of achieving universal primary education worldwide by 2015, as we embrace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A healthier, more literate, more prosperous world, as measured by the concrete achievement of the MDGs in 2015, will make the United States a more secure and prosperous nation. On International Literacy Day, we salute the role the United Nations has long played in promoting literacy and believe all nations have an obligation to educate all their citizens.


PRN: 2010/174