Transcript: Education for All Act National Media Call


April 21, 2010

RESULTS Educational Fund and Global Campaign for Education U.S.

Media Call on the Introduction of the Education for All Act of 2010
April 21, 2010, 12:30 pm ET

Moderator: Joanna Kuebler, director, Global Campaign for Education U.S.
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), chair, House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Joanne Carter, executive director, RESULTS

Joanna Kuebler: I’m Joanna Kuebler, director of the Global Campaign for Education U.S. I want to thank everyone for joining us today. GCUS is a broad-based coalition of organizations including faith-based groups, NGOs, teacher (inaudible) students, and think tanks dedicated to ensuring access to quality basic education in developing nations.

Today we will be joined by Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Joanne Carter, co-chair of the Global Campaign for Education U.S. and the executive director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund.

Earlier today Congresswoman Lowey and Joanne Carter joined Jessica Alba in launching Congresswoman Lowey’s Education for All Act of 2010, which the Congresswoman will tell you about in just a moment. And today also was launched 1Goal, a massive public awareness campaign to make the legacy of this summer’s World Cup education for all children.

Without further delay, and of course we applaud Congresswoman Lowey’s leadership for her passion on behalf of the world’s children and for her bill introduction today, we’ll turn it over to Congresswoman Lowey.

Nita Lowey: Well, thank you so much and I particularly want to thank Joanne Carter and all the people from RESULTS who’ve worked so hard. It is your commitment and determination that is really making this happen and today was an important day because I reintroduced the Education for All Act with the help of RESULTS and so many other good people. And it was particularly exciting to get Jessica Alba there, which shows you, Joanne, what star power does. I haven’t had that many reporters attending any legislation I have done and lot of it is very important, as this is, in a long time. But she is very committed to the 1Goal. She is working hard in preparation for June when the World Cup will take place in South Africa, and this is an opportunity to get the world focused on education.

The bill that I introduced was originally introduced with Hilary Clinton. She was the sponsor in the Senate and the situation improved slightly in some parts of the world, but the overall problem is enormous: 72 million children, primarily girls, do not have access to education, and whether it’s President Obama or President George Bush or President Clinton, there was a clear commitment to the three goals that we have to accomplish if we’re going to bring security to the world, a tripod. Number one, defense. Number two, diplomacy. Number three, development. And in the development goals, we understand that this bill is a roadmap. We have to encourage greater coordination. It’s not enough for the United States; we have to work with countries throughout the world, the private sector, foundations such as the Clinton Global Initiative, Gates, Nike, and many others, and this is a priority.

We have to educate our young people if we want them to grow up and be a positive influence in the world rather than be attracted to Al Qaeda and terrorist groups. The 9/11 Commission stressed that fact, that education is key to national security, to world security. So I’m honored to introduce this bill again. Again, I appreciate the participation and the leadership of RESULTS, and I’m happy to take any questions.

Operator: At this time, if you’d like to ask a question, press star then the number one on your telephone keypad. We’ll pause for just a moment to compile the Q&A roster.

Joanna Kuebler: And actually, Operator, we have one more speaker for questions. Joanne Carter’s going to speak for just a second, and then we’ll go into questions.

Joanne Carter: Thanks very much, Joanna, and thanks especially, Congresswoman Lowey. I just want to say again, as co-chair of the U.S. Chapter of the Global Campaign for Education and on behalf of the over 30 partners in that coalition, just to thank you again for your leadership on these issues.

Congresswoman Lowey stated really eloquently why education is so central to delivering on every development goal we have and central to peace-building and our collective security. And I want to say again, and she’s fairly modest, it’s been her leadership that’s driven up U.S. investment in international basic education in this last decade, and this is the make-or-break moment for U.S. leadership. Which is why her legislation is so important. As she said, it really is a roadmap on the way forward.

I just want to say very briefly a bit more why 2010 is such a pivotal year and U.S. leadership is so important, and then why a global fund for education and kind of Mrs. Lowey’s vision of her bill is so important in leading us on that way forward.

Just to say, we are just five years out from the globally agreed upon goal of having every child able to complete a quality basic education, and it’s really going to be our action or inaction this year that will literally determine whether the world succeeds in achieving this goal, and again, noting that the majority of kids that are not in school — of the 72 million kids not in school, the majority are girls, the majority are in sub-Saharan Africa, and almost 40 million live in fragile or conflict-affected states.

We’ve made some enormous progress, you know, thanks to no small part to Mrs. Lowey’s leadership and others, but we will have a long way to go.

In 2008, when President Obama was a candidate, he actually committed to giving every child the opportunity to learn through the creation of a global fund for education and pledged $2 billion to that fund.

Secretary Clinton in her confirmation hearing has echoed that same promise.

And then the Global Campaign for Education in the U.S., among the most important aspects that we see in Mrs. Lowey’s Education for All Act, is for the first time that there’s language really calling on the U.S. to take a leadership role in a multilateral mechanism such as a global fund for education, as well as supporting country national education plans and reaching children in conflict-affected countries. And those are key elements that brought together such a broad-based group of organizations today to mobilize behind this legislation as a vehicle and as a road map forward.

And just to say very briefly, in terms of a Global Fund for Education, why we’re so excited about that is because we see it’s so critical to not only ramp up the resources, but also to channel those resources into a mechanism that’s multilateral and of sufficient scope and strength to really deliver on the promise of education for all. Its why we’re so excited that this bill lays out a vision for a mechanism that’s independent, transparent, results-based, focused on quality that supports country national plans, and brings together all the stakeholders.

And most importantly, Mrs. Lowey’s worked for a long time to ensure that we’re actually reaching the kids in conflict-affected countries. I mean that’s a key piece that this mechanism could deliver on and that this legislation supports as well.

I’d just end by saying, you know, in contrast to Candidate Obama’s pledge for a $2 billion global fund for education, we were just disappointed that President Obama’s FY11 budget actually reduced funding for basic education by close to $90 million and didn’t actually have a centerpiece of a global fund for education, and we feel like this is a moment of opportunity for U.S. leadership. The president is going to be going to the U.N. summit this September, the Millennium Development Goals Summit that’s planned. He said he’s going to bring a plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and that has to include universal basic education as a centerpiece.

As Mrs. Lowey mentioned, in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma recently announced plans to hold an education summit during the World Cup, and that’s a huge opportunity — it will be a meeting of world leaders, a huge opportunity for U.S. leadership, and we really hope the president will be there and will bring a pledge for a global fund for education and an opportunity to move this forward.

I guess I would just end by saying that we can achieve this transformational change for the planet, every child in school and learning, but only if the U.S. leads and leads now. And I want to just end by thanking Congresswoman Lowey again for her leadership and really for providing a road map on the way forward, and we look forward to working with you, Mrs. Lowey, to deliver on the promise of education for every child.

Nita Lowey: Well, thank you very much, and I look forward to working with you. Are there any questions?

Operator: Again, if you would like to ask a question, press star then the number one on your telephone keypad.

There are no questions at this time.

Nita Lowey: OK, thank you.

Joanna Kuebler: Thank you, everyone.

Operator: This concludes today’s conference call. You may now disconnect.

END

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