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Countdown to 2015 Summit: Campaigning for Results and Accountability in Education

UN Envoy for Global Education

A World at School, in collaboration with civil society organizations and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, hosted a day-long "Countdown to 2015 Summit."

On the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund - World Bank Spring Meetings, the summit convened NGO executives, grassroots campaigners and youth activists alongside global policy leaders in a set of dynamic plenaries, executive leadership strategy tracks and campaign working sessions.

The action-driven summit focused on the urgent education crisis and the development of a strong plan of action to the end of 2015 to get as many children into school and learning.  

Summit Goals:

  • Align strategy for the UN Special Envoy’s “500-Day Countdown” Campaign for Global Education
  • Launch of a new set of tools to hold leaders and governments accountable for the global education goals
  • Coordinate messaging, tactics, and metrics around key barriers
Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 to 2010. Previously, Brown served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997 to 2007. In July, 2012 he was made UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

He is a passionate advocate for global action to ensure education for all. He also chairs the Global Strategic Infrastructure Initiative for The World Economic Forum and serves as New York University’s inaugural Distinguished Global Leader in Residence.

Brown, who has been a Member of Parliament since 1983, is the founder, with his wife, of Their World, a charity which engages young people, business leaders, health and education professionals and civil society to create a brighter future for every child. He is married to Sarah Brown, a charity campaigner, and the couple have two young sons.

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown is the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and Member of Parliament for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

He is Chair of the Policy and Initiatives Board of the World Economic Forum and also serves as a Global Fellow of New York University as well as the Chancellor of Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy. He is on the Board of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation and is Patron of the Burma Campaign. He has recently completed a research project on globalisation and education at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010 and is widely credited with preventing a second Great Depression through his stewardship of the 2009 London G20 summit. He was one of the first leaders during the global crisis to initiate calls for global financial action, while introducing a range of rescue measures in the UK.

In April 2009, he hosted the G20 Summit in London where world leaders committed to make an additional $1.1 trillion available to help the world economy through the crisis and restore credit, growth and jobs. They also pledged to strengthen financial supervision and regulation.
Previously, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997 to 2007, making him the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history. During ten years at the Treasury, Gordon masterminded many of Labour’s proudest achievements including the Minimum Wage, Sure Start, the Winter Fuel Allowance, the Child Trust Fund, the Child Tax Credit and paid paternity leave. His record on global justice includes his negotiation of debt cancellation for the world’s poorest nations and the tripling of the budget for life-saving aid. His time as Chancellor was also marked by major reform of Britain’s monetary and fiscal policy as well as the sustained investment in health, education and overseas aid.

His role in government continued to shape his views on the importance of education as a fundamental right of every child in the world and the key to unlocking better health, greater social stability, more rights and opportunities for women and a higher standard of living. He is a passionate advocate for global action to ensure education for all and co-chairs a High Level Panel on Global Education with Graça Machel. In his role as UN Special Envoy for Global Education, he works closely with key partners to help galvanise support for the UN’s Global Initiative on Education, Education First, which aims to achieve quality, relevance, and inclusive education for every child.

Gordon is the author of several books including Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation and a forthcoming work 2025: Shaping a New Future.

Gordon has a PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh and spent his early career working as a lecturer. He was elected to Parliament in 1983 and continues to hold his seat. He is married to Sarah Brown, the Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, and the couple live in London and Fife, Scotland with their two sons, John and Fraser. 

Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown is the founding Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education and co-founder of the A World at School initiative to mobilise and support all efforts to achieve education and learning for every child by 2015. She is also the CEO of the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown Ltd, President of the international children’s charity Theirworld, Co-Founder of the Maternal Mortality Campaign and Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood.

She has received the Vision and Impact Award from the Global Business Coalition for Health, an Honorary Fellowship from Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Recognition Award from theInternational Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.

Sarah lives in London and Scotland with her husband, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Member of Parliament Gordon Brown, and their two sons John and Fraser. She tweets as @SarahBrownUK to 1.2million followers.

Sarah Brown

Sarah Brown’s work brings together the worlds of business, philanthropy, social media and charity campaigning. As the founding Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, Founder and President of the international children’s charity PiggyBankKids, Co-Founder of the Maternal Mortality Campaign and Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Sarah provides strategic leadership to worldwide efforts to save and change the lives of women and children. Her contribution has been recognised with the Vision and Impact Award from the Global Business Coalition for Health, an Honorary Fellowship from Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Recognition Award from the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics.

In the course of her work on women’s health, Sarah has addressed the World Health Assembly’s Annual General Meeting and the International Confederation of Midwives and chaired a United Nations Special Meeting that heralded the end of healthcare user fees for pregnant women in 16 countries. Sarah’s deep commitment to the health of pregnant women and newborns led to her founding PiggyBankKids, an international children’s charity which administers the Jennifer Brown Research Fund, established in memory of Sarah and Gordon’s first child.

As Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education she is steering the first private sector CEOs and foundation directors’ delegations to meet with government leaders in India and Nigeria. Founding members of the Coalition include the Chairman/CEOs of Tata, Grupo Carso, Dangote Industries, Econet Wireless, McKinsey, Accenture, Discovery, Pearson, Western Union and Reed Smith.

She previously was Managing Director of one of Britain’s most dynamic independent communications companies and subsequently led a global arts PR firm. A passionate advocate of women’s leadership, Sarah’s corporate involvement continued as Patron of the CBI First Women Awards to honour women in the boardroom and at the helm of Britain’s successful start ups and growing businesses. Sarah is also a Non-Executive Director of Harrods Group (Holding) Limited.

She is the author of best-selling book Behind the Black Door and regularly rallies her million plus twitter followers (as @SarahBrownUK) in support of its central message: whatever platform you have in life, you can always use it to make a difference. She tweets in support of the many charities she is involved with including those she serves as a patron; Women’s Aid, Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres an dSHINE Education Trust.

Sarah spent part of her early life in Tanzania in East Africa, before going to school in London and then studying Psychology at Bristol University. Sarah lives in London and Scotland with her husband, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Member of Parliament Gordon Brown, and their two sons John and Fraser. 

Ban Ki-Moon

Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the Organization itself.

"I grew up in war", the Secretary-General has said, "and saw the United Nations help my country to recover and rebuild. That experience was a big part of what led me to pursue a career in public service. As Secretary-General, I am determined to see this Organization deliver tangible, meaningful results that advance peace, development and human rights."  

Mr. Ban took office on 1 January 2007. On 21 June 2011, he was unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly and will continue to serve until 31 December 2016. Highlights of his tenure include:

Promoting sustainable development
One of the Secretary-General’s first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda. Subsequent efforts to focus on the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals, have generated more than $60 billion in pledges, with a special emphasis on Africa and the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. At the height of the food, energy and economic crises in 2008, the Secretary-General successfully appealed to the G20 for a $1 trillion financing package for developing countries and took other steps to guide the international response and protect the vulnerable and poor.

Empowering women
The Secretary-General pressed successfully for the creation of UN Women, a major new agency that consolidates the UN’s work in this area. His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality has also included the "Unite to End Violence against Women" campaign, the "Stop Rape Now" initiative, the creation of a "Network of Men Leaders" and the establishment of a new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Within the UN itself, the Secretary-General has increased the number of women in senior management positions by more than 40 per cent, reaching the highest level in the Organization’s history.

Supporting countries facing crisis or instability
The Secretary-General has sought to strengthen UN peace efforts, including through the New Horizons peacekeeping initiative, the Global Field Support Strategy and the Civilian Capacity Review, a package of steps to improve the impact of the 120,000 United Nations "blue helmets" operating in the world’s conflict zones. A mediation support unit, along with new capacity to carry out the Secretary-General’s good offices, have been set up to help prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crises. Accountability for violations of human rights has received high-level attention through inquiries related to Gaza, Guinea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legal processes in Lebanon and Cambodia, and advocacy for the "responsibility to protect," the new United Nations norm aimed at prevent and halt genocide and other grave crimes. He has also sought to strengthen humanitarian response in the aftermath of mega-disasters in Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010), and mobilized UN support for the democratic transitions in North Africa and the Middle East.

Generating new momentum on disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation
The Secretary-General has sought to rejuvenate the disarmament agenda through a five-point plan, efforts to break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament and renewed attention to nuclear safety and security in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Strengthening the UN
The Secretary-General has introduced new measures aimed at making the United Nations more transparent, effective and efficient. These include heightened financial disclosure requirements, compacts with senior managers, harmonization of business practices and conditions of service, the adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and continued investments in information technology and staff development.

The Secretary-General was born in the Republic of Korea on 13 June 1944. He received a bachelor's degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970. In 1985, he earned a master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

At the time of his election as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban was his country's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His 37 years of service with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C. and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General of American Affairs.

Mr. Ban’s ties to the United Nations date back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry's United Nations Division. That work expanded over the years, with assignments that included service as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization and Chef de Cabinet during the Republic of Korea's 2001-2002 presidency of the UN General Assembly. Mr. Ban has also been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations.

The Secretary-General speaks English, French and Korean. He and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son, two daughters and three grandchildren. Since 2007, Mrs. Ban has devoted her attention to women’s and children’s health, including autism, the elimination of violence against women, and the campaign to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

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