New York

26 September 2015

Secretary-General's message to Global Education First Initiative Event [delivered by Mrs. Ban Soon-taek]

I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this important Global Education First initiative event. I thank the Champion Countries, teachers, students, parents, business and United Nations partners, especially UNESCO.

You meet at an historic moment. The world has just adopted a new global vision for sustainable development. Leaders pledged to finish the job started with the Millennium Development Goals. And they recognized that education is essential to building a better world.

I was especially moved by the speech of Malala Yousafzai. Her impassioned call for action rang out with a cry for justice that resonated far beyond the walls of the General Assembly. Speaking with authority of someone who has survived violence, she declared that education is peace. She called for a promise from world leaders on behalf of the refugees, the oppressed, the children everywhere who have been denied their rights. Malala’s advocacy shows how education is critical to overcoming the major threats facing humanity.

SDG4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education – and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all people.

The Global Education First Initiative can help us reach this goal. That will unlock progress across the new agenda.

It is a terrible injustice that 59 million children in our world are out of school. A quarter of a billion children are not learning the basics. These children are our future. If we help them learn now, they will help our world later.

All of you understand the transformative power of education. I count on you to continue spreading the message to leaders and peoples.

Let us work for education for all people, so that they are empowered to create a better future.