Global Philanthropy Event to Boost Funding for Education

Special ECOSOC Event on ICPD to Strengthen Partnership between UN and Philanthropies and Help Stay the Course on Achieving the Education for All agenda
Feb 28, 2011 2:30 PM ET

(3BLMedia/theCSRfeed) February 28, 2011 - Four hundred philanthropists, corporate and civil society leaders will meet today from 3:00 to 6:00 pm in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters to share best practices and lessons to boost global private funding for the education of girls and boys at a time when most countries are implementing austerity measures in the aftermath of the economic and financial crisis.

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) special event, “Partnering with the philanthropic community to promote education for all” got a boost with the announcement earlier today of grants worth $16.1 million from Cathal Ryan Trust, Symantec and the Western Union Foundation to fund education and related projects in Sri Lanka, India and the neediest parts of the world that would benefit around 51,000 children and 10,000 women.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe, President of ECOSOC, will address the audience of chief executive officers, senior civil-society representatives, teachers and educators to play a specific and highly valuable role in shoring up funding for the Education For All agenda. “The world needs you (The philanthropic community) to do even more: more giving, more advocacy, more sharing best practices and more teamwork, including with the United Nations” says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In 2008, at least 67 million children of primary-school age (4 to 11 years), and more than half of whom were girls, were not enrolled in school. If current trends continue, millions of children will still be out of school in 2015.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and Michaëlle Jean, 27th Governor-General of Canada and UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti, will also speak at the event coinciding with International Corporate Philanthropy Day (ICPD) and organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UNESCO, the United Nations Office for Partnerships, and the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP).

“Philanthropy should continue to do what it does best ― helping the marginalized and vulnerable catch up, while not shying away from risk either,” states ECOSOC President Lazarous Kapambwe.

In his message for International Corporate Philanthropy Day, United States President Barack Obama said, “By offering their skills, time and financial support and creativity to causes greater than themselves, generous corporate philanthropists strengthen our communities and enrich our lives.”

Of the grants announced today at United Nations Headquarters, Dublin-based Cathal Ryan Trust contributed $14 million to UNICEF for constructing schools in Sri Lanka for 6,000 children and rehabilitating healthcare facilities for 25,000 children, many of whom are aged below five, 5,000 pregnant women and 5,000 lactating women. “Creating more enhanced learning opportunities for the most disadvantaged children brings the world closer to achieving our goal of education for all,” said Saad Houry, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director. “By investing in the best possible education for all boys and girls, the corporate and philanthropic community is being strategic about the return on its investment.”

Symantec’s contribution of $900,000, in addition to $100,000 given in 2010 to the non-governmental organization, Room to Read, will enable more than 20,000 boys and girls in India gain access to quality education programmes. Western Union Foundation’s $500,000 contribution to the United Nations Development Programme will allow Filipino and Moroccan migrants living and working abroad to contribute to sustainable local development, including education, in their home countries. This contribution is a portion of a $1.1 million grant from the Western Union Foundation to support UN efforts to advance the Millennium Development Goals.

Earlier in November last year, telecommunications giant Nokia contributed between five and ten million dollars to UNESCO to promote the use of mobile technologies in education projects worldwide. “The philanthropic community already plays a very important role in increasing learning opportunities and stimulating innovation,” said Ms. Bokova. “We need to strengthen this dialogue and work together with governments and communities to accelerate progress and enable all children, youth and adults to enjoy access to quality education.”

During the conference, Daljit Dhaliwal, international news journalist, will moderate the first of two dialogues, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm, on Staying the course: Enabling Greater Access for Girls and Boys to Complete Primary Education with Per Heggenes, CEO of Ikea Foundation, Matthew Bishop, American Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief, The Economist, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, co-Author, “The Price of Stones: Building a School for my Village” and Wendy Hawkins, Executive Director, Intel Foundation.

J. Michael Adams, president-elect of the International Association of University Presidents will moderate the second dialogue, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., on Promoting Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Economy with S. Gopalakrishnan, CEO and Managing Director, Infosys Technologies and Carlos Dominguez, Senior Vice-president, Cisco and and Jasmine Nahhas di Florio, Vice President, Education for Employment Foundation.

Saad Houry, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF will summarize both the dialogues. Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute at Columbia University, will moderate the closing session, A Call to Action where new initiatives will be announced, followed by remarks by Petra Nemcova, Founder, Happy Hearts Fund, Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Ambassador Kapambwe.

The event will be webcast live at;; and Twitter hash tag: #MDG2

 Media Accreditation: Media representatives wishing to attend the conference but lacking United Nations credentials should contact Media Accreditation & Liaison Unit, United Nations Headquarters, L-248, New York, NY 10017, Telephone: (212) 963-6934 or (212) 963-6937, Fax: (212) 963-4642, Email:  Web: