United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Leonardo Garnier of Costa Rica as his Special Adviser for the Transforming Education Summit, which will take place in September 2022.
The Special Adviser will provide strategic advice on issues of transforming education and will work under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary-General/Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group and will liaise closely with the Summit Secretariat hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to build momentum in advance of the Summit. He will also support the Secretary-General in consulting Governments and engaging stakeholders with a view to shaping concrete and ambitious deliverables to be presented at the Summit.
Education systems today are at a crossroads. The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to the learning opportunities of hundreds of millions of children and young people, exacerbating a pre-existing learning crisis. At the same time, contemporary education systems in practically all countries are struggling to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and values required to thrive in our rapidly changing world.
The Transforming Education Summit, a key initiative of Our Common Agenda, is an opportunity to rekindle international political commitment to education as a pre-eminent public good. It will serve to mobilize action, ambition, solidarity and solutions to recover pandemic-related learning losses, reimagine education for the future and reignite global efforts to deliver the education-related Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Mr. Garnier is a lecturer at the University of Costa Rica, where he has worked in the School of Economics and as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Science Research. He has been a university lecturer since 1975 and has held a number of posts in the public sector in Costa Rica and in international organizations.
He served as Costa Rica’s Minister for Planning and Economic Policy from 1994 to 1998, in addition to two terms as Minister for Education, from 2006 to 2014, during which time he advanced significant reforms of the education sector, both with respect to foundational skills like literacy, maths and science, and from the perspective of introducing an “ethics, aesthetics and citizenship” vision of education. He achieved a significant increase in the rate of enrolment, with important investments in rural and indigenous education.
Mr. Garnier has published books and articles on different economic and social topics linked to development and to education, as well as two books of stories for children. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economic science from the University of Costa Rica and a PhD in economics from the New School for Social Research in New York. He is fluent in Spanish and English.