16 May:  International Day of Light observed

The International Day of Light (IDL) was observed on May 16 by UNESCO. The year 2019 marks the global celebration of Second International Day of Light after its inauguration in 2018.

About IDL

  • It is an annual, global initiative which provides a focal point for continued appreciation of light. It calls to harness potential of scientific cooperation and strengthen it so as to foster peace and sustainable development.
  • The day marks the anniversary of first successful operation of laser by engineer and physicist Theodore Maiman on 16 May 1960.
  • Background: Following a highly successful International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in 2015, which saw more than 13,000 activities implemented in 147 countries, the Executive Board of UNESCO, at its 200th session (200 EX/Decision 27), established 16 May of every year to be observed as International Day of Light. Thus the first IDL was celebrated at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 16 May, 2018.
  • Objective: It aims to raise awareness about critical role played by all the light-based technologies in the lives of people all around the world in areas of education, art and culture sustainable development, science and technology and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy.
  • Significance: IDL contributes to building new bridges between education and scientific disciplines.  By encouraging worldwide community-driven actions in science outreach and education it offers The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) an opportunity to fulfill its mission of promoting international cooperation in basic sciences and STEM Education (which includes four specific disciplines- science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

IDL 2019

  • On the occasion of IDL 2019 the ‘Illuminating Education Conference’ was held at the UNESCO Category 1 Institute: Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy.
  • The UNESCO-ICTP Illuminating Education Conference was the Flagship Celebration of the IDL 2019.




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