UNESCO is hosting a high-level virtual meeting aimed at revitalizing Global Education, Thursday, 22 October from 1 to 5 p.m. French time (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. universal time).
UNESCO convened the meeting in partnership with the governments of Ghana, Norway and the United Kingdom, in order to secure commitments from global leaders for the protection of education financing during the COVID-19 recovery period, and, also, to produce consensus on priority actions for the next year. Its overarching goal is to ensure that the pandemic does not reverse decades of progress in education.
Keynote speakers, to contribute live or via recorded video message, include the following heads of state: João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço (Angola), Félix Tshisekedi (D.R. Congo), Iván Duque Márques (Colombia), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Hage Geingob (Namibia), Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (Portugal), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Kaïs Saïed (Tunisia). The Presidents of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, and of the Italian Council, Giuseppe Conte, Saad Dine El Otmani, Head of the Government of Morocco, as well as the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, are also expected to attend.
At the ministerial level, speakers include Baroness Sugg, Minister for Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development of the United Kingdom and Bekhzod Musayev, Deputy Prime Minister for Social Development of Uzbekistan. The European Commission will be represented by Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships. In addition, nearly sixty Ministers of Education from the five continents will take part in the exchanges.
The United Nations will be represented by its Secretary-General António Guterres; the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay; Omar Abdi, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF; David Beasley, Executive Director of the WFP (World Food Programme). Also in attendance are Queen Mathilde of Belgium, champion of the UN Sustainable Development Goals; Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, champion of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and President of the Education Above All Foundation; Jayathma Wickramanayake, Special Envoy for Youth of the UN Secretary General; and Gordon Brown, Special Envoy for Education.
Among the international organizations represented was the Secretary-General of the OECD, Angel Gurria. Julia Gillard, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education, and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University are also expected to speak.
Prior to the meeting, UNESCO facilitated a series of consultations on a Declaration to be adopted at the meeting committing the international community to act to safeguard educaiton.