4 Ways Business Rallied for Education At World Humanitarian Summit

Photo by World Humanitarian Summit.


From the launch of new initiatives supporting private sector involvement, to the ushering in of a new education fund to help more than 13 million children living in crises worldwide, lots of exciting developments took place during the World Humanitarian Summit this past week. Through two-full days packed with high-level round tables, special events, side events and more, the international community gathered in Istanbul for the inaugural Summit to redefine the face of humanitarian work for vulnerable communities across the world.


Throughout the Summit, one thing though remained clear: World leaders decided that Education Cannot Wait, and the private sector rallied behind their call to action to prioritize education globally. Hear from the voices of business leaders themselves, including GBC-Education members, to learn how they now plan to #ShareHumanity.


1. GBC-Education convened leaders from the private sector


At GBC-Education’s breakfast event, more than 150 high-level leaders from business, government, philanthropic organizations, and donor agencies gathered to show their support for education as a priority in the humanitarian agenda.


They discussed how companies can leverage employee engagement to heighten corporate buy-in for social issues such as education or solutions for the refugee crisis, with the UN Secretary General kickstarting their dialogue.


The UN Secretary General spoke on his own experience growing up in war, emphasizing that education is an “investment in inclusion and freedom from fear,” and that “without education, you cannot achieve anything.”


Mike Dawson, CEO of #smartinvestment Network member Ustad Mobile, shared the update from Tom Fletcher’s letter addressed to the hosts of the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference which outlines how companies are working to identify strategic partnerships for greater impact.


2. GBC-Education members took action to support education in emergencies


GBC-Education members attended, hosted, and participated in a range of events both in Istanbul and online over the course of the two-day Summit. In the Exhibition Space, NRS International demonstrated the resilience of their sustainable supply chain which manufactures relief items, solar solutions, and public health products.


Western Union co-hosted a reception and dinner, and then on the first day of the Summit, they co-hosted a side event on the private sector’s role in humanitarian crises in which Sarah Brown was a featured panelist.


Pearson in partnership with Save the Children exhibited a safe space booth focusing on the complexity of the global refugee crisis, which caught the attention of the UN Secretary-General.


Crescent Petroleum President Badr Jafar attended the launch of SMEs for Humanity, a new initiative a new initiative that aims to create a space where businesses of all sizes can contribute to humanitarian efforts.


3. Learning for all — including girls and refugee children — was at the top of conversations.


Intel Middle East’s Corporate and Government Affairs Director Ferruh Gurtas saluted UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova’s call to action so that the most marginalized populations don’t miss out on learning opportunities to address the refugee crisis.


Kate Krukiel, Microsoft’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, applauded the goal of increasing access to learning for 3.5 million refugee children (or half of the out-of-school population today).


And, Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek spoke up for displaced youth, the children all too often forgotten in education interventions.


4. Companies agreed with government: Education Cannot Wait


Mazen Hayek, a well known Dubai-based media authority, joined GBC-Education to support the launch of the new Education Cannot Wait fund.


Finland Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Lenita Toivakka and Christos Stylianides of the European Commission encouraged companies to step up to the plate and support education in emergencies.


GBC-Education Director of Policy and Advocacy Kolleen Bouchane marked commitments made thus far to the fund and continues to advocate for deepened commitment. Thanks contributions from multiple donors, the fund now totals $90 million, or a little over half of the total commitments needed for year on (see A World at School’s commitment tracker for more details!).


What did you think of the World Humanitarian Summit? Share your thoughts on Twitter through @gbceducation!