Top Advocates Rally Behind UN Secretary General’s Initiative on Education
Stating that education was a priority of his second term because parents and children around the world were calling for it before all, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon presided the first meeting of the High-Level Steering Committee of his new Education First initiative in New York on 30 July.
Underscoring that education represents hope, the Secretary-General recalled learning under a tree as a young boy in Korea and expressed concern that education has slipped down the international agenda.
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova serves as Executive Secretary of the 15-member Committee expected to bring strategic guidance to the Initiative.
The first meeting gathered principals of UN agencies, including UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, the president of the World Bank, the chair of the Global Partnership for Education and representatives from civil society, the private sector, the teaching profession and youth organizations.
All committed themselves to strongly support the Secretary-General’s initiative, which will focus on getting every child into school, improving the quality of education and using education to build global citizenship. The Director-General outlined these three priority areas, noting that education for all was an unfinished agenda, and highlighting the importance of a global advocacy platform at the highest level.
Education First will be officially launched in New York in the margins of the General Assembly on 26 September.