Dubai Cares has been selected to join “Education First”, a global initiative by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to ensure quality, relevant and transformative education for everyone. Launched yesterday at United Nations Headquarters in New York City alongside the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the five-year education initiative will rally a broad spectrum of actors to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015 and lay the groundwork for a bold vision for education post-2015. The launch was attended by decision- and policy-makers and representatives of UN agencies, NGOs, private foundations and member states.
Dubai Cares, the UAE-based philanthropic organization founded in 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is the only organization from the Middle East that has been selected to be part of the UN Secretary General’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and Subgroup on Advocacy and Communications for the five-year initiative. Dubai Cares will advocate for education to become a primary focus on the agendas of both local and national governments as well as development and humanitarian organizations worldwide.
Attending the launch event, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, said: “Dubai Cares’ selection by the United Nations to join this important global initiative is a significant milestone that would not have been achieved without the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, a firm believer in education as the most effective tool to break the cycle of poverty. It is with this belief that His Highness established Dubai Cares to free developing countries from poverty by providing their children with access to quality primary education. We also thank the UAE community for its tremendous support throughout the years, as well as all our global partners, including UN aid agencies, NGOs and private foundations, with whom we have worked to make a difference in the lives of 7 million children in 28 developing countries so far.”
Al Gurg added: “In only five years after its establishment, Dubai Cares is already emerging as a regional champion in holistic integrated education programming and actively contributing to the post-2015 education debate. Our selection to join the UN Secretary General’s initiative is a testament to the success of our approach to developing impactful interventions that emphasize quality learning, early childhood development, literacy and numeracy, and school health and nutrition. I am honored to be at this launch event and for Dubai Cares to be involved in this initiative that brings together like-minded actors to confront and solve the crisis in education worldwide.”
The basic priorities of “Education First” are to expand access to education, improve quality of learning, and foster global citizenship. The initiative will spur a global movement to put quality, relevant and transformative education at the center of the social, political and development debates and generate additional and sufficient funding for education through sustained global advocacy efforts.
The eight MDGs were set in 2000, forming a blueprint to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. At the end of the 1990s, there were 106 million children of primary school age not enrolled. Today, that number stands at 61 million as the result of several national and international initiatives and interventions. However, despite this progress, the international community faces the prospect of having more children out of school in 2015 than today.
The launch was marked by a general sense of urgency stemming from the realization of the potentially devastating social, political and economic consequences of neglecting education. Without improvements in the state of education, global efforts to end poverty and hunger, empower women, save children and mothers from unnecessary deaths, and live in harmony with the environment will continue to be undermined.