GBC-Education Events From UNGA ‘15

Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova at the GBC-Education breakfast./ Photo by Steve Gong.

The 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly was momentous — and not just because Pope Francis paid a visit. After years of collaboration at high-level meetings such as the Oslo Summit on Financing for Education and the Financing for Development conference to rethink the direction and implementation of global development, world leaders officially adopted the Post-2015 Agenda. Otherwise known as the Sustainable Development Goals, or more casually as the ‘global goals,’ the agenda maps out a new (more collaborative) plan for all sectors to end poverty by 2030.

At the top of the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) priority list is delivering access to quality learning for the world’s most marginalized children, particularly those residing in emergency and crisis situations. To ensure that our members could best leverage their core assets to help bridge this divide for the 59 million-out-of-school children today, GBC-Education hosted and participated in various events during the week of the UN General Assembly, the recaps of which you can find below.


The Annual GBC-Education High-Level Breakfast

“Education in emergencies is a security imperative. The lost generation of out-of-school children might also be a generation of extremism. Let us make the breach between humanitarian and developmental.” – Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO at the 2015 GBC-Education breakfast.

Every year, GBC-Education convenes a breakfast among our members, high-level government officials, and other education stakeholders alongside the UN General Assembly as a platform for industry leaders to connect. Partnerships are formed and best practices are shared in an effort to help the world’s out-of-school children gain access to school and learning. This year, we experienced the highest turnout ever as speakers like the UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown gave the imperative to act now on education during crises and the CEO of Western Union Hikmet Ersek and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi, who recently wrote of his work in The Hindu, echoed supporting sentiment. Foreign Ministers from Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey also spoke on the crisis in Syria before CEO of the Global Partnership for Education Alice Albright spoke on challenges and innovations regarding education in emergencies and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Lise Kingo suggested solutions for financing and improving coordination.

GBC-Education Annual Member Meeting

“Our goal is to make investments scalable and sustainable as our members partner with other companies or government.” — Sarah Brown, GBC-Education Executive Chair, at GBC-Education Member Meeting.

At this year’s members-only strategy meeting, representatives from companies ranging from founding members such as Pearson, Intel, and Reed Smith, to GBC-Education’s newest member, Kano, gathered over breakfast. They discuss the Coalition’s activities from 2015 and began planning their strategy for the upcoming year and beyond.  


#Tech4Ed: Global Education Platform Discussion

“We’re excited to announce the first execution of this initiative which we believe will be the largest and most inclusive digital writing contest in India’s history.” – Adam Braun, GEP Director, at the #UpForSchool Town Hall.

Following GBC-Education’s annual high-level breakfast, members met with Global Education Platform (GEP) Director Adam Braun and Consultant Julia Firestone. Panel members from Wattpad, ALISON, STiR Education, Souktel Mobile Solutions, and Pearson Education spoke on the theme of harmonizing delivery of education via technology through partnerships. The meeting followed Braun’s announcement of the GEP’s pilot launch in the form of a writing contest, “YourStoryIndia,” at the #UpForSchool Town Hall event sponsored by UNICEF and British charity Theirworld on Sept. 28.

Asia Society Luncheon

“[70 percent of CEOs] now are saying that the skills that students have when they come to work are not the skills that they need to succeed. Education hasn’t necessarily embraced all of those huge mega-trends that are out there, whether it’s technology, or demographic shifts, or climate change.” — Shannon Schuyler, Principal, Chief Purpose Officer and Corporate Responsibility Leader, PwC and President of PwC Charitable Foundation, at Asia Society Luncheon.
At “Educating for Citizenship in a Global World,” a luncheon co-hosted by the Asia Society and GBC-Education, 100 global education leaders in business, policy, and civil society gathered for roundtable discussions which were “ignited” by select speakers. Key conclusions included the need to move from global goals to concrete actions on global citizenship education, spurring the launch of the Asia Society Centre for Global Education, announced at the meeting.

The event featured remarks from President and CEO of Asia Society Josette Sheeran, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute and former Australian Prime Minister The Hon. Kevin Rudd, and Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education Sarah Brown.

Sarah Brown facilitated the broader conversation while GBC-Education Advisory Board members Thérèse Rein (Ingeus) and Wendy Kopp (Teach for All) as well as GBC-Education members Shannon Schuyler (PwC) and Shelly Esque (Intel) prompted conversation on how to leverage technology, increase economic empowerment, and utilize systems to create change for education for the 21st century.