February 18, 2015

Global Youth Ambassador Hellen gets TWO prime ministers to sign #UpForSchool

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

Hellen Griberg is one of A World at School's network of go-getting Global Youth Ambassadors. They love a challenge - our ambassadors are all young leaders with the passion and drive to help us get all children into school and learning.

So it was no surprise when she decided to recruit none other than Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg to support our youth-led #UpForSchool campaign, which demands that world leaders get every child into school without fear of danger or discrimination.

Norway PM Erna Solberg signs #UpForSchool Petition watched by Julia Gillard and Hellen Griberg

Hellen watches as Erna Solberg signs our petition

But it was double delight for Norwegian Hellen, who is now studying at Aberdeen University in Scotland, when she managed to get former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to sign the #UpForSchool Petition as well.

Hellen explained: "I wrote to the Prime Minister of Norway in December last year and asked her if she would be interested in supporting the #UpForSchool campaign. She answered my email and invited me to come to Oslo and meet her at her office.

Julia Gillard signs #UpForSchool Petition watched by Hellen Griberg and Norway PM Erna Solberg

GPE chair Julia Gillard adds her name to the #UpForSchool call

"Two days before the meeting I got to know that Julia Gillard, who is Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, was going to visit Norway to discuss education with the prime minister. I was very fortunate that their meeting was going to be on the same day as my meeting. I flew to Oslo on February 10 and met with the prime minister on the 13th.

"I entered the meeting room after Julia Gillard and Erna Solberg had finished with their talks. I explained to them about the purpose of the #UpForSchool campaign and why I’m so passionate about global education. Then they signed the petition."

Global Youth Ambassador Hellen Griberg at office of Norway PM Erna Solberg

Hellen checks out the Norway PM's wall of fame

Hellen also had the opportunity to spend some time talking with Ms Solberg about Norway's role in getting more children into school, especially in conflict zones. Norway will host a summit in Oslo in July to tackle stalled progress on delivering global education.

Hellen added: "I asked her about how Norway is going to get more nation states to invest in education. Norway, as far as I am aware, is the only country that has increased its global education budget."

Her role as an A World at School Global Youth Ambassador is one that Hellen relishes. She wrote on the GYAs' Facebook page: "Thank you A World at School for giving me the opportunity to advocate for children's right to education. It has been such a rewarding job and I'm blessed to be a part of this amazing group.

"I hope this year will be full of great events, campaigns and many signatures for the #‎UpForSchool campaign. Wish you all good luck with your projects to get 58 million children in school."

In September, Julia Gillard publicly supported the #UpForSchool campaign launch when she attended the A World at School September Forum in New York and tweeted this:

But she and Erna Solberg aren't the only world leaders to have signed our petition. At least four other serving or former presidents and prime ministers have put their names to our campaign. At our September Forum, Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete added his signature.

Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete signs #UpForSchool Petition

Also in September, Gordon Brown - former British Prime Minister and current United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education - signed our petition online just before A World at School's youth rally in New York.

Gordon Brown signs #UpForSchool Petition

And Mr Brown was with another former Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, when he added his name to the cause.

Kevin Rudd signs #UpForSchool Petition watched by Gordon Brown

The Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Augustin Matata Ponyo, signed the petition at the country's #UpForSchool campaign launch in December. 

And none other than the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, also gave his thumbs-up with this special video for our #UpForSchool youth rally in New York last September.

But you don't have to be a prime minister or president to join the #UpForSchool campaign. Make your voice heard - sign the petition now!

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