My role as the Global Partnership for Education Board Chair ends today 15 September 2021. When I was first appointed in 2014, I would not have predicted that I would be Chair for so long or foreseen the many wonderful experiences my role would bring me. The last seven years have been filled with many highlights.
However, nothing can or should last forever and now is the right time in GPE’s evolution for the leadership baton to pass to the next generation and most particularly to a leader from a developing country. I wish Dr Jakaya Kikwete a warm start to his tenure as the new Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education. I would also like to offer my congratulations to Susan Liautaud on becoming Vice Chair. I am confident they will be a remarkable team, which will provide exemplary leadership for GPE.
I leave so pleased to have been able to contribute to this huge period of growth and development at GPE. As an organisation, we have become more strategic while improving and diversifying the tools we use to have impact. Importantly, we have become more genuinely inclusive of developing country insights and perspectives, with much of the credit for that going to Vice Chair Minister Serigne Mbaye Thiam, whose help and friendship has meant so much to me in my time as GPE Chair.
As a result of the work of GPE and so many across the global education community, we have seen the focus on education grow over time. At this year’s Global Education Summit, the highest level political support for education was evident as countless leaders raised their hands for education and specifically pledged to set GPE on a path to raising at least $5 billion over the next five years. The Summit was an important success for millions of children and young people around the world whose education has been upended by the pandemic, and a critical step to ensuring that education is at the heart of our response and recovery.
Memories of these key turning points will always remain with me as will the times that I was able to visit GPE partner countries and meet incredible students and teachers. I remain inspired and motivated by youth voices that continue to campaign for inclusive education policies that benefit all children. I am also grateful for the number of times I was able to stand alongside strong women, educational leaders and the many campaigners who are determined to ensure girls get to go to quality schools.
On a personal note, I would like to convey my thanks to the Board for its continuing support. I have served with many Board colleagues and Committee Chairs over time, and while there have been some robust debates there has also been shared determination to achieve education for all. I believe that in the wake of the recent governance reforms the Board will continue to strengthen its ability to provide strategic leadership.
I would also like to record what a privilege it has been to work with Alice Albright, who will always remain a good friend. Her dedication, insight and leadership abilities have been pivotal to creating GPE as it exists today. Alice would be the first to give credit to the talented team at the GPE Secretariat. I wholeheartedly agree and I am so grateful for the fact that day after day they do incredible work in pursuit of the GPE mission. Everyone I have worked alongside at the GPE Secretariat has been both a dedicated professional and a motivated true believer in the cause. That combination of passion and skill makes a huge difference.
I wish GPE every success in the future in changing the lives of children around the world through the transformative power of education.