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'Confucius Literacy Prize' Set up to Boost Education

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced here Wednesday it is setting up the "Confucius Literacy Prize," aimed at honoring individuals and institutions that have made a significant contribution to education development.

This is the first time an international prize has been named after a Chinese figure.

Starting in 2006, a panel of experts will select two prizewinners from government organs, non-governmental organizations and individuals worldwide who have made a special contribution in the education sector. The panel will be looking for achievements that focus on education in rural areas, education for women and girls and the advancement of literacy.

The prize will be funded by eastern China's Shandong Province and Confucius' hometown, Jining City. The prizes, worth a total of 150,000 US dollars, will be announced on International Literacy Day which falls on Sept. 8. The UNESCO director general will grant the prize to the two winners with certificates and medals, as well as a chance to visit Jining City.

A great thinker, philosopher and educator in ancient China, Confucius (551 BC-479 BC) is known as one of the most famous historical and cultural figures in the world. The time-honored Confucius theory is an important part of the mainstream Chinese culture and still has influence on educators in China and around the world.

In 2003, the governments of Shandong Province and Jining City applied for the establishment of the prize with the Chinese National Commission for the UNESCO. Their request was approved by the UNESCO on Sept. 29 this year.
(Xinhua News Agency December 1, 2005)

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