About the Year of Light

On 20 December 2013, the UN General Assembly 68th Session proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015). The IYL 2015 Resolution in all official languages of the UN is available here.


In proclaiming an International Year focusing on the topic of light science and its applications, the UN has recognized the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Light plays a vital role in our daily lives and is an imperative cross-cutting discipline of science in the 21st century. It has revolutionized medicine, opened up international communication via the Internet, and continues to be central to linking cultural, economic and political aspects of the global society.

IYL 2015 programs will promote improved public and political understanding of the central role of light in the modern world while also celebrating noteworthy anniversaries in 2015—from the first studies of optics 1,000 years ago to discoveries in optical communications that power the Internet today.

This International Year will bring together many different stakeholders including scientific societies and unions, educational institutions, technology platforms, non-profit organizations and private sector partners.

An International Year of Light is a tremendous opportunity to ensure that international policymakers and stakeholders are made aware of the problem-solving potential of light technology. We now have a unique opportunity to raise global awareness of this.

John Dudley, Chairman of the IYL 2015 Steering Committee


IYL 2015 is endorsed by a number of international scientific unions and the International Council of Science, and has more than 100 partners from more than 85 countries. The International Year of Light would not be possible without our many sponsors and partners. We are extremely grateful for their support and commitment to the ideals of our mission during 2015.

Founding Partners of IYL 2015 are the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the American Physical Society (APS), the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG), the European Physical Society (EPS), the Abdus Salam International Centre of Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the IEEE Photonics Society (IPS), the Institute of Physics (IOP), Light: Science and Applications, the lightsources.org International Network, 1001 Inventions, The Optical Society (OSA) and the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE).

Patron Sponsors include Bosca, Royal Philips Lighting, the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Thorlabs and UL.

Gold + associates include Axis Lighting, China International Optoelectronic Expo (CIOE) and International Commission on Illumination (CIE)

IYL 2015 is endorsed and supported by hundreds of other sponsors and collaborating partners.


The Global Secretariat is located at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy. To get involved in the International Year of Light 2015, please contact the Secretariat at light2015@ictp.it.


The International Year of Light will reach an audience of tens of millions of scientists, industry leaders and members of the public worldwide. Sponsorship is an exclusive opportunity to showcase your sustainability vision, strategies and practices before this world-class audience, and demonstrating your support for the aims of the International Year of Light. Sponsors include industry partners, universities, research bodies and many others seeking to create new or expand existing global partnerships. Learn how to support IYL 2015.


The first official event was the Opening Ceremony held at UNESCO HQ in Paris over 19-20 January 2015. This was the beginning of a year-long series of activities all over the world. On our website you can learn more about the anniversaries and themes that are the focus of 2015, you can access our calendar of events and join in with any activities planned in your country! If you wish to organize your own events, you are very welcome to post the events on the website calendar.

Let's make this International Year a great success together!