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Education leaders unite for global summit

More than 9,000 delegates have gathered in New Orleans, USA, for the Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly of the National Education Association (NEA) - one of EI's largest affiliate members in America.

As part of the pre-Assembly build up the NEA International Relations department sponsored a Global Education Summit, with the theme of 'diplomacy for a new generation.' Through workshops and panel discussions, approximately 100 participants were treated to new techniques and strategies to not only help prepare their students for an increasingly complex, interdependent world, but also how to collaborate and unite in the face of daunting global challenges. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel welcomed the group and Executive Director John Wilson facilitated the morning discussions, including one led by Dr. Anthony Jackson of the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning. Participants then broke out into workshops facilitated by key NEA partners, including Peace Corps, Coverdell World Wise Schools, the Global Campaign for Education, iEARN-USA and the Magna Carta project. The afternoon session focused on how teacher unions can work together in tackling the issues educators around the world confront, including privatisation and testing. NEA Vice-President Lily Eskelsen spoke about the importance of gender equality in education and the campaign to meet the Education for All goals. She also introduced a new video, 'Acting Locally – Connecting Globally: On the Move for Gender Equality', which was produced jointly by the NEA with Education International's Communicators' Network and affiliates in the Caribbean. For the international guests in attendance, including representatives from EI affiliate members in Australia, Chile, Senegal, South Africa and the UK, the summit was a valuable opportunity to begin discussions with their U.S. counterparts about the many issues that unite them. “It’s amazing when you realise that we are all dealing with the same bad policies,” said Angelo Gavrielatos, President of Australia Education Union (AEU). “But we have to work together – there should be no borders when it comes to a child’s education.” Gavrielatos also closed the summit with a brief presentation about AEU’s development aid cooperation program to help education across the globe. Under the program, AEU contributes 0.7 per cent of members' dues to international projects. Some members, he noted, object. “What I tell them is that no matter where that child lives – anywhere in the world – that child is a teacher’s business.”

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