Global Leaders and Celebrities Team up to get 57 Million Into School

A high-powered group of global leaders, campaigners and celebrities will today join forces to get 57 million “lost” children into school.

The Emergency Coalition for Global Education Action – convened by UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown – will be announced at a 2015 Countdown Summit to pressure the international community to take action on behalf of children everywhere. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will also address the summit during the launch of the Emergency Coalition. The summit will take place in Washington DC.

The launch comes in response to the news that the international community could fall short on the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG2) to get all children into education by 2015. If the current pace continues it will be 2086 before all children are in school and learning.

The Emergency Coalition, which will include singer and songwriter, Shakira and actors Jude Law and Goldie Hawn, has deemed this to be unacceptable and is demanding the international community take action now.

Speaking in front of an audience of NGO executives, policy leaders and grassroots campaigners at the Summit, Mr Brown will call the situation “unacceptable from a moral, economic and global security perspective” and he will stress that domestic governments and NGOs must be pushed to honour their commitments to out-of-school children.

He will say: “If we continue at the current pace it will be 2086 before all 57 million children currently not learning have access to education. We made a promise to children worldwide that they would be in school by 2015.

“We must now put education on the international agenda in a way that cannot be ignored. Together we will tackle the key barriers to education – child marriage, child labour and discrimination against girls.”

Ban Ki-moon will say: “‘Today we launch the Emergency Coalition for Global Education Action – a group of prominent youth leaders and many others from around the world who are coming together to work even harder to accelerate progress until the end of 2015 to ensure all girls and boys are in school.

“I am especially grateful for the leadership of my UN Special Envoy for Education, who has brought us together today for this event.  I thank him for his unwavering fight for children everywhere. And I also thank Mrs Sarah Brown for her support for global education through A World at School’s campaign.”

Shakira said: “The Emergency Coalition for Global Education is challenging society to see how many kids we can get into school by the end of 2015. We have 500 days to make a real difference. Help us spread the word to get children out of the street and into the classroom.”

The summit is organised in collaboration with A World at School and more than 100 civil society partners working to accelerate progress for children across the world.

Sarah Brown, Founder of A World at School, will unveil a network of 500 youth ambassadors from 80 countries who are to work internationally to promote learning for all. The ambassadors, including education campaigners Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz who were caught up in the Pakistan gun attack on Malala Yousafzai, will be lobbying governments for change, getting involved in local projects and trying to raise the profile of what is now a full-blown education emergency.  The youth campaigners will announce a June Takeover of the African Union on the Day of the African Child to highlight need for urgent action for education.

A Global Faiths Coalition for Education will also be announced at the summit.

The summit will culminate with a shared plan of action for a 500-Day Countdown campaign which will highlight important areas representing the key barriers to education.

More than 75 companies have now signed up to support education through the Global Business Coalition for Education.

Members of the Emergency Coalition include:

  • Raj Shah, Administrator, US Agency for International Development
  • Alice Albright, CEO, Global Partnership for Education
  • Strive Masiyiwa, CEO, Econet Wireless
  • Kailash Satyarthi, Chairperson, Global March Against Child Labour 
  • Aliko Dangote, Chair, Dangote Group and Founding Member, Global Business Coalition for    Education
  • Jim Wallis, Founder, Sojourner
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Ricken Patel, Executive Director, Avaaz
  • Fred van Leeuwen, General-Secretary, Education International
  • Goldie Hawn, Actress and Founder, The Hawn Foundation
  • Jude Law, Actor and Ambassador, Peace One Day
  • Isha Isatu Sesay, Anchor, CNN International and HLN
  • Shakira, Singer and Songwriter, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Founder, Fundación Pies Descalzo
  • Mabel van Oranje, Chair, Girls Not Brides
  • Lang Lang, Concert pianist, Founder of Lang Lang International Music Foundation

Discovery Communications – parent company of the Discovery Channel will also be announced as media partners in the 500-day countdown campaign.

The Dangote Foundation will also be announced as a partner in the campaign alongside other partners, including Dubai Cares.