NEW YORK, 21 September 2009 - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman today met with students and staff at the highly successful Young Women's Leadership School in East Harlem to discuss the important role that quality education plays in improving children’s lives.
Queen Rania, who has served as UNICEF's Eminent Advocate for Children since 2007, has supported a number of education initiatives focused on getting girls into school. She became United Nations Girls' Education Initiative’s (UNGEI) Honorary Global Chair in July 2009.
The visit is Her Majesty Queen Rania’s first to New York since her UNGEI appointment.
“Providing quality education to girls is a sound investment that helps build a brighter future for their communities and their countries,” said Veneman. “Her Majesty Queen Rania is a strong voice promoting access to a quality education for children around the world.”
For nine consecutive years, 100 per cent of graduates of the Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem have been accepted into institutions of higher education.
During their visit to the middle and high school today, HM Queen Rania and Executive Director Veneman visited classrooms and then spoke to a 100-student assembly. They also took questions during a 100-student assembly before visiting the library equipped with computers where she showed girls how their voices can be heard through the 1Goal campaign.
“I want you, girls with voices, to speak up and shout out for girls whose cries fall silent,” said HM Queen Rania. “I want you to fight for them, as others are fighting for you. I want you to pull up another girl, and help her stand tall and strong. I want you to be great, and inspire greatness in others. If anyone can do it, you can."
Queen Rania also showed girls how their voices can be heard through the 1Goal campaign on computers in the school library.
As Honorary Global Chair of UNGEI, HM Queen Rania lends her support to a global partnership of organizations from both the United Nations family and civil society that is committed to achieving gender equality in education.
UNGEI was established in 2000 to provide the extra support that girls in many countries need to enter and stay in school. Since 1999, the total number of out-of-school children has dropped by 16 per cent globally. Despite this progress, there are still approximately 100 million children out of school, and the majority are girls.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments
The United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI), launched in 2000 at the World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal, by then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is a partnership of organizations committed to the goals of narrowing the gender gap in primary and secondary education and ensuring that, by 2015, all children complete primary schooling, with girls and boys having equal access to free, quality education. The flagship of the Education for All (EFA) movement that focuses on girls' education, UNGEI includes organizations from the United Nations family, governments, civil society and the private sector, as well as communities and families. UNGEI provides stakeholders with a platform for action and galvanizes their efforts to get girls in school and keep them there. UNICEF is the lead agency and secretariat for UNGEI.
About The Young Women's Leadership School
The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem was the nation’s first single-gender public school to open in the country in more than 30 years. It was founded by Ann and Andrew Tisch in partnership with Center for Educational Innovation – Public Education Association (CEI-PEA) and the then New York City Board of Education. Today, it is the flagship school in a network of five all-girls’ public schools serving low-income minority students, supported by Young Women’s Leadership Network. TYWLS of East Harlem a New Visions School provides an outstanding college-prep education in a nurturing academic environment to 430 girls in grades 6 through 12, with 85% of them eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. For more information visit www.ywlnetwork.org
Attn broadcasters: B-roll of the event will be available at thenewsmarket.com/unicef
For further information, please contact:
Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media New York,
Tel + 1 212 326 7452,