The International Day of Light is a global initiative that provides a platform for the continued appreciation of light and the role it plays in science, culture and art, education and sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy. The broad theme of light will allow many different sectors of society worldwide to participate in activities that demonstrates how science, technology, art and culture can help achieve the goals of UNESCO – education, equality and peace.
Following a highly successful International Year of Light, which highlighted the importance of light-based sciences and technologies and saw more than 13,168 activities implemented in 147 countries, the Executive Board of UNESCO, at its 200th session, has established the International Day of Light on 16 May of every year (200 EX/Decision 27). The 39th General Conference has approved this decision in document 39 C/40.
The International Day of Light will be an annual celebration providing a platform for continued appreciation of the central role that light science and technologies play in the lives of citizens from all over the world. It will provide also an enduring follow-up of the achievements of the International Year of Light by raising the profile of science and technology globally and highlighting its applications for stimulating education, improving quality of life worldwide, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
An International Day of Light will contribute to build new bridges between scientific disciplines, education and the art, responding to the critical need for interdisciplinary science, and improved dialogue between citizens, scientists, decision makers, industry leaders and non-governmental organisations.
An International Day of Light will encourage worldwide community-driven actions in science outreach and education. An International Day of Light will offer UNESCO an opportunity to fulfill its mission of promoting international cooperation in the basic sciences and STEM Education, and will contribute to achieving the objective to render science, technology and innovation accessible to all with a focus on Africa.