Celebrating as we Look Forward: GBC-Education in 2013

From massive consumer campaigns to strategic investments affecting hundreds of thousands of children, the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) has harnessed corporate engagement in education to create a movement of business leaders united for education for all.

As a strong partnership of over 20 of the world’s most influential companies and leading global brands representing over 1 million employees globally, we reflect on how, through leadership, partnerships and innovation, GBC-Education has worked to accelerate progress in delivering quality education for all of the world’s children and youth in concrete, measurable ways.


GBC-Education had a strong presence at the World Economic Forum in Davos, including a plenary session with Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek, World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt and the Nigerian Minister of Communication Technology Omobola Johnson.

The Education and Technology Forum at Twitter HQ, #Tech4Ed, brought together Silicon Valley technology companies with Advisory Board Members Laurene Powell Jobs, Carlos Slim, Strive Masiyiwa, Lisa Belzberg, Justin van Fleet and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to discuss effective corporate engagement in global education.

GBC-Education organized a panel at MIPTV in Cannes with Discovery Communications and GUCCI highlighting our members’ work in front of 10,000 television global industry executives and demonstrating how to effectively use media to engage the public in the campaign for global education.

Member companies sent young business leaders to attend the Malala Day Global Education Youth Summit in New York City.  The event convened hundreds of young leaders from around the world representing nearly 100 different countries and over 100 different partner organizations in support of reaching the goal of all children, especially girls, in school and learning by 2015.  Youth Advocate for Global Education, Malala Yousafzai, delivered a speech on global education – her first public speech since being targeted by the Taliban for her commitment to education.

GBC-Education hosted its second Annual Breakfast, ‘Business Delivering Learning for All’ that focused on the state of global education and the importance of business engagement in the sector.  Over 100 leaders of the world’s most influential companies and organizations attended the event with special remarks by USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Youth Advocate for Global Education, Malala Yousafzai and UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown.
Corporate leaders also got together at the Clinton Global Initiative 2013 Annual Meeting to discuss global education at a panel chaired by GBC-Education Sarah Brown, who was joined by Discovery Education, McKinsey and Varkey Gems.  The event was standing-room-only, sending a clear signal of the rising momentum for global education.

GBC-Education hosted a special event at the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit 2013 featuring Accenture, Discovery Communications, Hess and LEGO.

Chair, Sarah Brown, represented GBC-Education at a White House meeting on global education alongside GBC-Education company, Western Union.

Member companies engaged in high-level country meetings at the Learning for All and Civil Society meetings in Washington, D.C. and New York City.  The first of their kind, the meetings led to significant government commitments to education such as the doubling of spending on education in Pakistan from 2% to 4% of GDP.


The India Working Group continued to meet and scope its focus on education issues specific to India, and member companies hosted a visit to Mumbai from USAID Administrator, Rajiv Shah.

GBC-Education held a private business discussion with the Nigerian government in Cape Town, South Africa, which focused on ways the private sector can support education delivery in Nigeria.

Dangote Group, Econet Wireless, Accenture and ThisDay convened in Nigeria to meet the Federal and State Government on education.  Members are now rolling out plans in Nigeria to use technology and mass media to improve the quality of education and generate public awareness.
GBC-Education featured expert briefings that have connected companies to partnership opportunities resulting in funding from UK DFID to support girls’ education programs in Africa, and sparked other multilateral and bilateral partnerships.


GBC-Education hosted a series of business consultations to contribute to The Smartest Investment: A Framework for Business Engagement in Education, released at the UN Global Compact 2013 Leaders Summit.  The first of its kind, the Framework provides businesses worldwide with standards, best practices and examples of effective investments in education.

Together with Accenture and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, GBC-Education published Investment in Global Education: A Strategic Imperative for Business, in which it articulates the business case to rescue a global education system in crisis.

The Coalition developed the first Education without Borders Campaign Toolkit, a set of tools for GBC-Education member company employees and consumers to support education for Syrian refugees.  The toolkit is a part of A World At School’s Education without Borders Campaign, a global action campaign to support the children of Syria’s right to education.  Companies can adapt the toolkit to their needs to meet one or several of the following objectives:  1) educate employees 2) fundraise 3) develop consumer education programs 4) leverage core assets


Intel helped raise over $2.1 million dollars and led the way for employee engagement and public mobilization as a core sponsor of Girl Rising, a groundbreaking film and campaign about empowering girls through education.   Intel is also the first corporate supporter of a policy by Education International to engage school authorities and educators in the development of IT solutions for learning.

GUCCI reached more than a billion people in 145 countries with the message about the need to get girls into school through a star studded Sound for Change concert in London featuring Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Madonna, Mary J Blige, and Jennifer Lopez.

Through CHIME FOR CHANGE, GUCCI has also facilitated the funding of over 200 projects on the ground in education, health and justice using the crowd funding platform, Catapult.

Western Union, Intel and GUCCI sponsored words in #theworldneedsmore social media campaign on World Humanitarian Day.  This has raised thousands of dollars for humanitarian relief benefiting over 73 million persons globally.
Anchoring business’ response to the Syria crisis, GBC-Education member Western Union unveiled a 1:1 match of consumer donations worldwide that will benefit Syrian refugee children through Education for Better, a three-year commitment the company is making to global education.


GBC-Education leaders appeared on numerous media channels discussing the importance of business engagement in education. These included an op-ed by Sarah Brown and Edith Asibey in The Guardian entitled ‘Why Investment in Universal Education makes Business Sense’, major US and international television appearances with GBC-Education leadership, an online publication on This is Africa by Pearson’s CEO John Fallon entitled ‘Using Education to Sustain Africa’s Growth’, and the launch of a book by Discovery’s John Hendricks, ‘A Curious Discovery’, about his journey to improve education by establishing the world’s largest provider of television content. ThisDay Live, founded by Advisory Board member, Nduka Obaigbena, also facilitated a petition for education in Nigeria run by A World At School.


As we celebrate all our Coalition has achieved over the past year, we look forward to an even more successful year ahead. Click here to view our calendar of activities and events for 2014.

With your support, we will continue to accelerate progress toward achieving quality education for the children and youth around the world.