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UN Secretary-General to launch major new education initiative

‘Education First’ to kick off with announcement of new commitments for education

Secretary-General BAN Ki-Moon will be joined at a high-level launch by several Heads of State, business and civil society leaders and UN officials, including:

  • President Jacob Zuma of South Africa
  • Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark
  • Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia
  • Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic of Croatia
  • Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser of Qatar
  • Gordon Brown, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Global Education
  • Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Executive Secretary of the Steering Committee for Education First
  • Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF
  • Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank
  • Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, Nigeria
  • Chernor Bah, youth leader, Sierra Leone 

Following the high-level launch, a panel discussion will feature:

  • Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, UNICEF Eminent Advocate for Children
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, Member of the Parliament of Myanmar and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Teopista Birungi Mayanja, Teacher representative, Uganda
  • Charles Young, Student representative, Jamaica

The panel will be chaired by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. International broadcaster and journalist Femi Oke will moderate the discussion.

In the evening, Secretary-General BAN Ki-Moon will speak at a reception along with Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, Heads of State, a youth advocate, business leader and Heads of UN agencies. The reception will feature artist performances.

High-level launch
To unite the agencies and programmes of the United Nations system, governments, business leaders and civil society in a final push to put education on top of the global agenda ahead of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals deadline. New major commitments for Education First will be announced at the launch.

Panel discussion
The dialogue will focus on Education First’s three priority areas -- to get all children into school, to make sure they learn, and that what they learn is relevant for addressing today’s global challenges -- and on ways to help shape the evolving discourse on education in the post-2015 development agenda.

To inspire and galvanize action among a broad, diverse audience, including prominent education and civil society leaders, youth activists, business and philanthropic community, Heads of State, UN entities, academics and artists.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

High-level launch: 1:15-2:15p.m.

Panel discussion: 2:30-4:00p.m.

Evening reception: 6:30-8:30p.m.

High-level launch and panel discussion: Conference Room 4, UN Headquarters, New York

Evening reception: The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Empire Room, 301 Park Avenue New York, NY 10022

Education First aims to galvanize governments and all other sectors of society into action on education, to get all children into school, to make sure they learn, and that what they learn is relevant for addressing today’s global challenges.

The initiative will unite the agencies and programmes of the UN system, governments, business leaders and civil society in a concerted effort to put education back on track. The initiative will focus on three priorities: access to education, quality of education and education for global citizenship.

In 2000, 189 of the world’s nations pledged to achieve universal primary education by 2015. It was the second of eight Millennium Development Goals aimed at freeing people from poverty and multiple deprivations. Although significant progress has been made, the latest data shows a clear slow-down. Without a major effort, there is a real danger that more children will be out-of-school in 2015 than today.
For more information on the launch, for interviews and to register to attend the afternoon event, please contact:
Charlotte Scaddan, UN Department of Public Information, New York,
Tel + 1 917 367 9378, 

Shimali Senanayake, UNICEF, New York,
Tel + 1 917 265 4516 / cell: + 1 917 609 9692

Sue Williams, UNESCO, Paris,
Tel + 33 (0)1 4568 1706 / +33 (0)6 15 92 93 62

To register for the evening reception, please contact:
Jenny Perlman Robinson, Center for Universal Education, The Brookings Institution,
Cell +1 917 653 6296

N.B. Only those with a special pass to enter the room will be permitted to attend the launch and panel discussion. Limited seating available.

The event will be webcast live at webtv.un.org


Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #educationfirst and follow @UNedufirst for updates




Education First Initiative

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