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Education Leaders Forum concludes in Paris

11-07-2008 (Paris)
Education Leaders Forum concludes in Paris
Director-General of UNESCO
addressing the Forum
© UNESCO/Michel Ravassard
On 7 and 8 July 2008, leaders and opinion makers from around the world gathered at UNESCO Headquarters to engage in rich discussions on issues around tertiary education.
The Forum opened with addresses from the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura; Microsoft's Ralph Young; US Secretary for Education, Margaret Spellings; and UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Abdul Waheed Khan. The sessions that followed were designed to be interactive, with leading facilitator Robert Mittman engaging all delegates into discussion and thinking about challenges and successes from developing and developed countries.

“The partnership is an excellent example of how UNESCO is collaborating with the private sector to achieve the objectives of the World Summit on the Information Society, along with other internationally agreed development goals,” stated Koïchiro Matsuura in his opening address. Referring to a number of groundbreaking projects implemented by Microsoft and UNESCO, Mr Matsuura felt the partnership highlighted “how technology can improve access to quality education, as part of our work to build inclusive and equitable knowledge societies,” two of UNESCO’s top priorities.

Following the welcome by the Director-General, the stage was taken by Ralph Young who leads Microsoft’s worldwide Public Sector business as Vice President. Mr Young focused his presentation on three key points: access, quality and 21st century skills.

As first keynote speaker, Secretary Spellings thanked the Director-General under whose leadership, she expressed, UNESCO has become one of the strongest voices for education in the world. She stated that “the technology revolution has provided a golden opportunity to improve higher education and expand its reach. Now we must make it more accessible, affordable and accountable.”

Abdul Waheed Khan, in his keynote, focused on the paradigm shift in tertiary education, especially that from formal to informal education. He also elaborated on the promises of e-learning and recalled the 2007 “Kronberg Declaration on Future of Knowledge Acquisition and Sharing.”

Jan Figel highlighted the examples from his experience as the European Commissioner responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Youth. He said that "universities should take responsibility for their graduates and equip them not only with knowledge, but with know-how and skills."

The following three interactive workshops facilitated by Robert Mittman engaged a panel of experts from around the world to build a thread around the ‘vision’, ‘barriers’ and the ‘strategies’ to overcome the barriers of tertiary education.

The Forum concluded with a dual endnote by Natrajan Ishwaran, Director of UNESCO’s Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences and Secretary of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme; and Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Strategist.
Education Leaders Forum concludes in Paris
Margaret Spellings, US Secretary for Education, addressing the Forum
© UNESCO/Michel Ravassard

Education Leaders Forum concludes in Paris Participants of the Forum
© UNESCO/Michel Ravassard
Related themes/countries

      · ICT in Education
      · Private Sector Partnerships
      · Education Leaders Forum 2008
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