Education International
Education International

Gordon Brown becomes UN special envoy for global education

published 17 July 2012 updated 19 July 2012

EI has congratulated former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on his appointment by the United Nations’ Secretary-General as UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

In a message to Mr. Brown, EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen said that the teaching profession looks forward to working with him to achieve quality education for all children, both in the developing and in the developed world.

“We not only need to develop better strategies to ensure that all Education For All (EFA) goals are accomplished, but also to prevent new education deficits emerging as a result of shrinking education budgets and the undermining of the status of teachers,” according to Van Leeuwen.

Commitment to education

In a statement issued on 13 July, the UN notes that Brown’s appointment builds upon his impressive commitment to education as a fundamental right of every child.

“He has demonstrated unquestionable passion, advocating extensively with world leaders, civil society, and the business community to keep the promise of quality education for all by 2015,” the statement read.

“As Special Envoy, Mr. Brown will devote himself to working closely with all key partners to help galvanise support for the Secretary-General’s Global Initiative on Education (Education First), which aims to achieve quality, relevant, and inclusive education for every child.

He will focus on countries with the highest burden of children out of school, recognising that nearly half of out-of-school children are in countries affected by conflict. He will help bring about change, mobilise resources and generate additional and sufficient funding.

“The Secretary-General is confident Mr. Brown will be a genuine champion for the world’s most poor and that his passion and conviction will re-energise international action for everyone’s right to opportunity through education.”

Longstanding passion

Gordon Brown said: “It is a great privilege to be invited by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as his Special Envoy for Global Education.

“Ensuring that every child in the world has the opportunity to go to school and to learn is a longstanding passion of mine, and I aim to learn from other Special Envoys such as President Clinton, Kofi Annan and Ray Chambers. Education breaks the cycle of poverty and unlocks better health and better job prospects.

“My hope is that the Secretary-General's 'Education First' initiative will accelerate progress not only towards the Millennium Development Goal on education, but across all the goals.

“Enrolling an additional 61 million children and ensuring a quality education for all by the end of 2015 will not be easy - but it is a goal which, working together, we can achieve.”