"I read - I understand - I take up responsibilities"
23 May - Commissioner Vassiliou held a reading event at a primary school in Nicosia, Cyprus, as part of her EU-wide literacy campaign, which she launched in February. It was the fourth such event, aimed at promoting the importance of being able to read and understand all kinds of texts – whether written or digital, literature or newspapers. Following similar events held in Budapest, Pecs, and Florence, the Commissioner focused this time on 'Literacy for Citizenship'.
Around 60 twelve-year-old pupils read out passages from Aesop's fable "The Monkey and the Fox", a tale about the consequences of casting an irresponsible vote. The fable sparked a lively discussion between the Commissioner and the children about active citizenship and democracy. Unveiling the moral of the fable, the children discussed the importance of being able to read and being informed - so they could make up their own minds without being manipulated and make a valuable contribution to society.
The pupils also discussed the value and meaning of literacy in a world dominated by images and digital media. The Commissioner pointed out that literacy is also relevant for reading on-screen - not just for books. Reading is a source of information and pleasure and it stimulates both our imagination and our critical thinking, she explained. Her message to the youngsters in a nutshell: read books and newspapers, on paper or online, as this is your pathway to knowledge and responsible citizenship.
Joining the Commissioner in the audience were Eleni Mavrou, Mayor of Nicosia, Androulla Kaminara, head of the Commission Representation in Cyprus, Olympia Stylianou, General Director of the Ministry of Education and Culture, and Christiana Artemiou, a well-known Cypriot actress and script-writer.