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Newsletter: From Evidence to Action

Launch of Education First

On the 26 September a major new initiative "Education First" was launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The Secretary-General BAN Ki-Moon was joined in New York 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 was featured. It consisted of: 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 was chaired by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. International broadcaster and journalist Femi Oke moderated the discussion. In the evening, Secretary-General BAN Ki-Moon spoke 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 dialogue focused 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.

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, please contact: Charlotte Scaddan, UN Department of Public Information, New York, Tel + 1 917 367 9378, [email protected] Shimali Senanayake, UNICEF, New York, Tel + 1 917 265 4516 / cell: + 1 917 609 9692 [email protected] Sue Williams, UNESCO, Paris, Tel + 33 (0)1 4568 1706 / +33 (0)6 15 92 93 62 [email protected] The event was be webcast live at Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #educationfirst and follow @UNedufirst for updates Updated: 21 September 2012