Press Release: UN Special Envoy Joins Celebrities, Youth, Business Leaders and More Than 100 NGOs in #EducationCountdown Campaign

18 August 2014


United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown today (Monday) announces the official launch of the #EducationCountdown campaign marking the 500-day point until the end of 2015.
World leaders made a promise in 2000 that every child would be in school and learning by 2015 but with exactly 500 days left before the deadline, progress on getting children in to school has stalled. 
Now hundreds of young people across the globe in more than 85 countries have spurred a movement, alongside 100 NGOs, civil societies, teachers, faith-based organisations and businesses and led by A World at School, demanding the right to education for the remaining 58million out-of-school children.
Progress has been made since the vow was made. At the beginning of the year 2000, almost 115million children were out of school. Now, with the clock ticking, global leaders have to respond rapidly if the goal is to be achieved.
Speaking on the eve of World Humanitarian Day, former UK Prime Minister Mr Brown said: “Today we officially launch 500 days of action aimed at helping millions of children go to school and learn.
“We have set our initial targets and a movement is forming across the globe. Youth, faith leaders, businesses, NGOs, civil society and teachers are uniting to build pressure for change. This undeniable force for action will deliver results for our children.”
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon will mark the 500-day countdown by meeting with education campaigner Malala Yousafzai at the United Nations in New York.
Pop stars, film stars and politicians are also throwing their support behind the countdown.
Award-winning singer and songwriter Shakira said: “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.”
Chinese pianist and UN Messenger of Peace, Lang Lang said: “The key to peace and development in the world can only be achieved through education. Let us, therefore, unite all of our efforts.”
The business community has also joined in the global groundswell of support led by the Global Business Coalition for Education. Chief Executives Aliko Dangote and Strive Masiyiwa are just two of the high-profile individuals supporting the campaign.
The next stop for the campaign is the United States where hundreds of young people representing all countries will descend upon New York City in September kicking off the week of the United Nations General Assembly to demand the right to education be realised by the Presidents and Prime Ministers attending the annual meeting at the United Nations.