World Literacy Day 2016
World Literacy Day is observed on Sept. 8.Reuters

The 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day will be observed on Thursday. The theme of the golden jubilee observance is "Reading the Past, Writing the Future."

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had proclaimed Sept. 8 as Literacy Day on Nov. 17, 1965 and it was officially celebrated for the first time in 1966. It is observed throughout the world to create awareness among people on the significance of literacy that enables one to read and write.

"The world has changed since 1966, but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all," says UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

The main celebration of Literacy Day 2016 will be held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9.

Check out some quotes by famous personalities on the importance of being literate:

Literacy unlocks the door to learning throughout life, is essential to development and health, and opens the way for democratic participation and active citizenship. ― Kofi Annan, seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. ― Kofi Annan.

 The aim of education is the knowledge, not of facts, but of values. ― William S. Burroughs, American Novelist

People don't realize how a man's whole life can be changed by one book. ― Malcolm X, American Muslim minister

Comics are a gateway drug to literacy. ― Art Spiegelman, cartoonist

Sometimes people who sell books are seen as corporate salesmen, and people who sell reading are seen as literacy advocates, but you can't really separate the two. ― Margaret Stohl, author

School made us 'literate' but did not teach us to read for pleasure. ― Ambeth R. Ocampo

All my good reading, you might say, was done in the toilet. ― Henry Miller, American writer

I think stories can grow out of the visual. It can be an engine for literacy. ― Chris Riddell, illustrator

Learning to read is probably the most difficult and revolutionary thing that happens to the human brain and if you don't believe that, watch an illiterate adult try to do it. ― John Steinbeck, author