It is estimated that one in five Albertans aged 16 and older have some degree of low literacy and struggle to understand and use information from books, news items and instruction manuals. Roughly 773 million adults around the world are illiterate. For those who were already dealing with this challenge, it is likely that the isolation and inequities created by the pandemic have only heightened the barriers they face. UNESCO is bringing this reality into focus on International Literacy Day 2021 with the theme Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide.

While the statistics are sobering, there are many programs in place to share the gifts of literacy and numeracy with those who need a helping hand. As Her Majesty the Queen’s representative in Alberta, I offer my heartfelt thanks to the teachers, mentors and volunteers who continue to offer life-changing literacy training to people here at home and across the globe, particularly during this challenging time in our history. Your essential efforts foster greater hope and opportunity for our fellow sisters and brothers and that leads to a stronger and healthier society for us all.

Her Honour, the Honourable Salma Lakhani AOE, B.Sc., LLD (hon)

Lieutenant Governor of Alberta

September 8, 2021