Platform for Action: GBC-Education’s Second Annual Breakfast

“If you have weak foundations, it is difficult to build for the future.  We all need to invest in education.”
-Aliko Dangote, CEO, Dangote Industries
Speaking to a full room of corporate and civil society leaders from across the globe, Aliko Dangote, CEO of Dangote Industries, stressed the urgency of business investment in global education at the second annual GBC-Education breakfast. Held during United Nations General Assembly week in New York, the event serves as a platform for industry leaders to develop partnerships, showcase best practices, and spotlight success stories with corporate peers.  Guests heard remarks from USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, Youth Advocate for Global Education Malala Yousafzai, and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown regarding the state of global education and the importance of business engagement in the sector.
Breakfast attendees participated in two interactive panels and witnessed the announcement of two new partnerships.  GBC-Education member Intel is the first company to endorse a new policy by Education International to help technology companies deploy solutions that support teaching and learning.  Member Pearson PLC is partnering with Camfed International to place 60,000 vulnerable girls in school and improve the quality of education for over 400,000 children in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Commenting on the panels, Malala Yousafzai told UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown “If the business community are invested in education as we’ve heard this morning, we can achieve our goal of education for all.”
Additionally, GBC-Education member Western Union announced a one-to-one match of consumer donations that will benefit Syrian children out of school as part of Education for Better, a three-year commitment the company is making to global education.
The Global Business Coalition for Education also held a seat at the table during several additional events at the United Nation’s General Assembly week.  Highlights included:
At a special event of the UN Global Compact, GBC-Education chair Sarah Brown joined a standing-room-only panel discussion with high-level member representatives from Accenture, Hess Corporation, LEGO Foundation and Discovery Communications.  Panelists shared lessons learned from their engagement in the education sector.
Speaking at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown helped release “The Smartest Investment: A Framework for Business Engagement in Education.” The framework is the first one of its kind, and it details a three-part engagement process to develop a business case for investment in education, identify activities that impact education challenges and benefit business, and apply best practices for responsible engagement.
GBC-Education chair Sarah Brown moderated a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative that explored the different ways by which the private sector is engaging in global education.  Panelists included Bill Goodwyn, President and CEO, Discovery Education, Mona Mourshed, Director of Global Education Practice, McKinsey & Company, and Vikas Pota, Chief Executive Officer, Varkey GEMS Foundation.
In collaboration with the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, the Global Business Coalition for Education participated in country level meetings with heads of state and/or ministers of education and finance from Myanmar, Pakistan, Somalia, and Malawi to develop concrete actions in accelerating progress on access and learning.
Momentum in building corporate support of education is rapidly growing.  The time for action is now.  As Pearson CEO John Fallon noted, “The whole point of business is to get things done, and get things done now.  Let’s get on with it.”