The International Day of Light will provide an annual focal point for the continued appreciation of the central role that light plays in the lives of the citizens of the world in areas of science, culture and art, education, sustainable development, and in fields as diverse as medicine, communications and energy. Following the highly successful International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015, the broad theme of light will allow many different sectors of society to participate in activities around the world around May 16th to raise awareness of science and technology, art and culture, and their importance in achieving the goals of UNESCO — education, equality and peace


• Light plays a central role in human activities. On the most fundamental level, through photosynthesis, light is at the origin of life itself, and the many applications of light have revolutionized society through medicine, communications, entertainment and culture.

• Industries based on light are major economic drivers, and light-based technologies directly respond to the needs of humankind by providing access to information, promoting sustainable development, and increasing societal health and well-being.

• Light-based technologies are increasingly providing solutions to global challenges in, interalia, energy, education, agriculture, and community health. Applications of light-based technologies improve the quality of life in the developing world, and are key enablers to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

• As light becomes the key cross-cutting discipline of science and engineering in the twentyfirst, it is essential that the importance of the scientific study of light and the application of lightbased technologies for global development is fully appreciated by the citizens of the world. It is equally vital that the brightest young minds continue to be attracted to scientific and engineering careers in this field.


An International Day of Light will see coordinated activities taking place worldwide, which will contribute to achieving numerous outcomes:

• Improve public understanding of how light and light-based technologies touch the daily lives of everybody, and are central to future global development;

• Build worldwide educational capacity through activities targeted on science for Young people, help address issues of gender balance and focus in particular on developing countries and emerging economies;

• Promote the importance of light-based technology in sustainable development particularly in Healthcare, Agriculture and Communications so as to enable access to educational opportunities and for improving the quality of life worldwide;

• Promote awareness of the interdisciplinary nature of twenty-first century science, and emphasize how interactions between different thematic areas of science will be increasingly needed in future research and education;

• Highlight and explain the intimate link between light and art, enhancing the increasing role of optical technology in the preservation of cultural heritage;

• Enhance international cooperation in fundamental science, research & development and education, by coordinating activities between learned societies, educational establishments and industry;

• Celebrate the role of light in science and culture across all continents of the globe through raising awareness of important historical figures.