Participate in IYL2015

The International Year of Light will consist of coordinated activities on national, regional and international levels. Activities will be planned so that people of all ages and all backgrounds can gain an appreciation for the central role of light in science and culture, and as a cross-cutting scientific discipline that can advance sustainable development.


UNESCO Executive Board supports annual International Day celebration as an enduring legacy of the International Year of Light 2015

Following the highly successful International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015), the Executive Board of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has endorsed a proposal for an enduring follow-up in the form of an annual International Day of Light to be celebrated on 16 May every year from 2018.

200th session of the UNESCO Executive Board.
200th session of the UNESCO Executive Board. Credit: UNESCO / A. Dunasovs.
The International Day of Light proposal was examined by the UNESCO Executive Board during its 200th Session in Paris held from October 4-18, introduced by sponsors Ghana, Mexico, New Zealand and the Russian Federation. The resolution was adopted with 15 additional co-sponsors from: Argentina, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Serbia, Nigeria, Paraguay, Qatar, Vietnam, and Uganda. The purpose of an International Day of Light will be to provide an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of the central role that light plays in the lives of the citizens of the world in areas of science, culture, education, sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy. The broad theme of light will allow many different sectors of society to participate in activities around the world that will raise awareness of science and technology, as well as art and culture and their importance in achieving the goals of UNESCO in promoting education, equality and peace. The first International Day of Light celebration is planned for 16 May 2018 following its official Proclamation at the General Conference of UNESCO in November 2017.



About IYL 2015

Under the leadership of UNESCO, the International Year of Light in 2015 brought together hundreds of national and international partners to organize more than 13,000 activities in 147 countries. The audience reached by the IYL 2015 is estimated to be over 100 million. The IYL 2015 Founding Partners were: the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE). An International Day of Light will allow the achievements of IYL 2015 to be strengthened and is expected to lead to many new partnerships and joint activities with UNESCO. A Final Report of IYL 2015 was delivered to UNESCO in Paris during a special half-day meeting on 3 October 2016 and also presented to the United Nations Second Committee in New York on 18 October 2016.


John Dudley
Steering Committee Chair
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015

Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga
Assistant Programme Specialist
International Basic Sciences Programme

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