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Inspiring quotes about education from world leaders and ordinary heroes

Children in conflicts, Education funding, Education in emergencies, Girls' education, Gordon Brown, Sarah Brown, Teachers and learning

Words alone cannot help to get every child in the world into school. But inspiring words and memorable calls to action can have a huge influence in the struggle to create lasting change for the most marginalised. So much was achieved in 2015 to help the movement to ensure every girl and boy in every country receives a quality education. Here are some memorable, uplifting and thought-provoking quotes during 2015 from some of the major figures in global education - and some of the previously unknown figures who emerged during the year.


Words alone cannot help to get every child in the world into school. But inspiring words and memorable calls to action can have a huge influence in the struggle to create lasting change for the most marginalised.

So much was achieved in 2015 to help the movement to ensure every girl and boy in every country receives a quality education.

Here are some memorable, uplifting and thought-provoking quotes during 2015 from some of the major figures in global education – and some of the previously unknown figures who emerged during the year.

 

EDUCATION IN EMERGENCIES

 

Picture: UNICEF/Rich

 

“We cannot stand by while children are shut out from opportunity due to conflicts and emergencies.”

Statement from 40 charities – including Save The Children, Oxfam and Action Aid – who came together to join A World at School’s call for a platform and fund for education in emergencies

 

“This is not the year of the child but the year of fear, with 2015 already the worst year since 1945 for children being displaced, the worst year for children becoming refugees, the worst year for children seeing their schools attacked.”

Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education (pictured above with Anthony Lake)

 

“Though the number of children affected by crisis is reaching an all-time high, financing for education in emergencies remains outrageously low.”

Anthony Lake, Chief Executive, UNICEF

 

“What we need now is the international community to stand by us. I am worried that if funding stops next year, the entire region will go down. Then we will have a lost generation.”

Elias Bou Saab, Minister of Education, Lebanon

 

“We have tried our best to prevent a lost generation. But at least 650,000 to 700,000 school-age kids need education. Our goal is to get 400,000 into school by the end of the year.”

Fuat Oktay, President of Disaster and Emergency Management, Turkey

 

“Every day, from South Sudan to Afghanistan, we are reminded that the tragedy of conflict falls most heavily on the smallest shoulders… For Syrian children, this is a tsunami without the water. A five-year hurricane without the wind.”

Antony Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, USA 

 

“Talent is universal but opportunity is not. Yet Abdisamad brims with talent and intelligence. He’s a reminder of the fundamental aphorism of our age: Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.

Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (on Abdisamad Adan, first Somalian undergraduate at Harvard University)

 

GIRLS’ EDUCATION

 

“We need women for peace, we need women for development… Commitments are good, action is better. Let us take action!”

Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany

 

“When educated girls become healthy, financially secure, empowered women, they’re far better equipped to advocate for their needs and aspirations, and challenge unjust laws and harmful practices and beliefs.”

Michelle Obama, First Lady, USA

 

“Every world leader wants quality education for their children. They need to think of the rest of the world’s children as their own children.”

Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani education campaigner

 

FUNDING FOR EDUCATION

 

“We see a critical need in education for innovative financing solutions of the kind that have been a game changer for the health sector and enabled it to function at a large scale over the past decade.”

Julia Gillard, Board Chair, Global Partnership for Education

 

INNOVATIONS IN EDUCATION

 

Bill Gates at Kentucky school picture gatesnotes.com

Picture:gatesnotes.com

 

“We are starting to see teachers using technology to improve the quality of the interactions they have with their students every day. It will still take time to find out which ideas will have the biggest impact, but it’s exciting to see the changes that are already happening.”

Bill Gates, American co-founder of Microsoft and philanthropist

 

“We in the education sphere have an amazing opportunity to test out new ways of teaching children, from double-shift schools for refugees to tablets that can provide lessons in temporary shelters for those who have been forced to flee their homes.”

Sarah Brown, education campaigner and President of Theirworld (parent charity of A World at School)

 

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

 

“We can no longer be a generation of bystanders. Join me in holding your leaders accountable for achieving the new SDGs. Failing is not an option. Education opens the doors to all kinds of opportunities.”

Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway

 

“I’ve been given the amazing honour of delivering this #UpForSchool Petition, written to world leaders meeting at the UN this week. In this book there are 10 million signatures. We need the commitment of leaders around the world and we need them to put children’s education at the top of their agendas.”

Shakira, Colombian singer-songwriter and children’s campaigner

 

“It is our moment to galvanise international support for education as the world prepares to adopt a new set of Sustainable Development Goals to guide the struggle to achieve a life of dignity for all…. To turn promises into action, we have to mobilise resources.”

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations

 

 

“Education … is the basis for the implementation of the 2030 agenda and for reclaiming the environment.”

Pope Francis (at the UN General Assembly)

 

“Education is the key to bring transparency and accountability in society. It is our collective responsibility to get our children educated. The vision I have is to see every single child to be in school, in a playground.”

Kailash Satyarthi, Indian children’s rights campaigner

 

CHANGE MAKERS

 

“I thank them so much and I hope they can do this campaign for every Syrian refugee, because there are children on the streets.”

Abdul Halim Attar (Syrian father who sold pens on the streets to help his children, thanking those who launched a crowdfunding campaign that raised $90,000)

 

“I study here because there are no lights in our home. I think one day I would like to be a policeman or maybe even a doctor.”

Daniel Cabrera, Filipino boy who was pictured doing his homework in the street under the light from a McDonald’s restaurant

 

WISE Prize for Education winner Dr Sakeena Yacoobi with Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and Michelle Obama

“My vision for Afghanistan is a free country, a society where everybody is educated. Every single girl must be educated in Afghanistan – that is my dream. I don’t have a small dream. My vision is big, has been big and is going to be big, constantly.

Sakena Yacoobi, Afghan winner of 2015 WISE Prize for Education

 

“Education is not a one-time investment. It is the only sector where you invest and it never finishes because it goes from one generation to another. If you construct one school and that stays there for ever, so many generations will benefit from that school – but how many people can use one tent for how long?”

Aqeela Asifi, Afghan Nansen Refugee Award winner

 

“From the age of five to nine my left hand wasn’t used to sign a petition but to squeeze the trigger of an AK47 that was taller than I was.This war for educational equality is personal to me. Because I know first-hand how it feels to wake up in the morning and not be able to go to school. I know how it feels to wake up in the morning, not by the sound of an alarm clock I set but the sound of guns and bombs dropping and reducing my memories to flames.”

Mohamed Sidibay, former child soldier from Sierra Leone and now a Global Youth Ambassador for A World at School

 

“I am concerned about early marriage, early pregnancy, and [young girls in Kibera] having futures that are not what they want. I emphasise how important education is as the main instrument for their success.”

Kennedy Odede, Kenyan founder of Shining Hope for Communities

 

“I wish for [girls around the world] that they can achieve what they want. This is your world. This is your choice. You should stand up for your rights. No one can stand for you. If one person can be educated, they can teach other people. You help one person and they will also help another person.”

Shazia Ramzan, A World at School Global Youth Ambassador from Pakistan (pictured above, left, with GYA Kainat Riaz)

 

“We must ensure generations of children in Syria and around the world don’t pay the price of needless wars, earthquakes and other emergencies because their education is neglected.”

Laura Carmichael, star of British TV series Downton Abbey and A World at School Ambassador,

 

“An attack on one school is an attack on all schools. An attack on one child is an attack on all children.”

Baela Raza Jamil, Adviser/Trustee, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Pakistan

 

“Education was always a big cause for me – my family have always stressed its importance and I really believe that it helps to save lives.”

Steve Nguyen, film maker who created RISE #UpForSchool video for A World at School

 

Philippines Foundation's Evelin Weber and Gordon Brown at Town Hall event picture by Steve Gong

“There is no better investment a nation can make than education. It is an investment in economic development, an investment in opportunity and an investment in our shared future.”

Evelin Weber, writer, entrepreneur and A World at School Ambassador, Philippines

 

If you have been inspired by any of these quotes, please join the campaign to get every Syrian refugee child into school in neighbouring Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.

Sign the Hope for Syrian Children petition here.

Education in emergencies

“We cannot stand by while children are shut out from opportunity due to conflicts and emergencies.” 

Statement from 40 charities – including Save The Children, Oxfam and Action Aid – who came together to join A World at School’s call for a platform and fund for education in emergencies

“This is not the year of the child but the year of fear, with 2015 already the worst year since 1945 for children being displaced, the worst year for children becoming refugees, the worst year for children seeing their schools attacked.”

Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education

“Though the number of children affected by crisis is reaching an all-time high, financing for education in emergencies remains outrageously low.”

Anthony Lake, Chief Executive, UNICEF

“What we need now is the international community to stand by us. I am worried that if funding stops next year, the entire region will go down. Then we will have a lost generation.”

Elias Bou Saab, Minister of Education, Lebanon

“We have tried our best to prevent a lost generation. But at least 650,000 to 700,000 school-age kids need education. Our goal is to get 400,000 into school by the end of the year.”

Fuat Oktay, President of Disaster and Emergency Management, Turkey


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