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International Day of Light

UNESCO has officially proclaimed 16 May as the International Day of Light

14/11/2017 - Trieste

UNESCO, one of ICTP's United Nations sponsors, has today declared 16 May as the International Day of Light; the first will be celebrated in 2018. The proclamation comes as a natural follow-up to UNESCO’s highly successful International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in 2015 (IYL), with its nearly 13,000 events targeted at all levels and reaching over 100 million people in more than 140 countries. ICTP played a key role in the IYL, hosting the global secretariat and coordinating the actions of the international scientific community and stakeholders with the UNESCO International Basic Sciences Programme.



The International Day of Light aims to be an annual focal point for people to uncover the crucial role light has in their lives, in areas such as medicine, sustainable development, education, communications and energy.

Many actors from different sectors of society will contribute to a number of activities all over the world, all raising awareness of science and technology, art and culture: from education and outreach for students and the public to specialist workshops in science and industry, conferences, public light festivals and displays, works of art, music, and literature. Partners worldwide are already making plans for an ambitious series of outreach and education activities in May 2018, with a special focus on students, young people and the public at large. In addition, a flagship inauguration featuring Nobel Laureates, scientists and industry leaders will take place in the afternoon and evening of 16 May 2018 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

Introduced to UNESCO by sponsors Ghana, Mexico, New Zealand and the Russian Federation, the International Day of Light is administered from UNESCO’s International Basic Science Programme by a Steering Committee that includes representatives from ICTP. Other Steering Committee members include: the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), Bosca, the European Centres for Outreach in Photonics (ECOP), the European Physical Society (EPS), the International Association of lighting Designers (IALD), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the International Commission on Illumination (CIE), - the international network of accelerator based light sources, Light: Science and Applications, The Optical Society (OSA), Philips Lighting, the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE), the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) and Thorlabs.



For event registration, enquiries about partnership opportunities, and any other questions, please contact:

- John Dudley (IDL2018 Steering Committee Chair):

- Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga (International Basic Sciences Programme UNESCO HQ):

- Jorge Rivero González (International Day of Light Secretariat & Press Officer):


Further Information


Twitter: and #IDL2018