Sheikha Moza: every child must get education
March 01 2018 12:28 AM
Sheikha Moza
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser met with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday. Her Highness and Mrs. Macron discussed their mutual interests in culture, health and education. They were joined by HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums.

QNA/Paris

*Sheikha Moza takes part in EAA high-level meeting in Paris

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Education Above All Foundation (EAA) and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, on Wednesday attended a high-level meeting organised by EAA in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco). The meeting themed, "Connecting the SDGs: The Key Role of Education" was held at the Unesco headquarters in Paris.
Co-hosted with Director-General of Unesco Audrey Azoulay, the session explored ways of tackling the growing education crisis, which is holding back 63mn primary-aged children worldwide and threatening economic development.
During the speech, Her Highness called on leaders of industry and government to place education at the heart of human development agendas.
She called on governments to respect the right of every child to get an education, whether in peacetime or in war and to stop playing political games with education.
Her Highness offered her congratulation to the Unesco director-general for being elected in her new post and referred to Qatar's long history of supporting Unesco.




Her Highness Sheikha Moza meets President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.




Her Highness Sheikha Moza and HE Sheikha Al Mayassa are seen with Brigitte Macron. 

Her Highness added that Qatar looks forward to further enhance the partnership under Azoulay's leadership.
She said: "I first stood before the United Nations 15 years ago to express my support for our shared vision: to provide quality education to children everywhere. I have come here today to tell you that this shared vision is now a real possibility."
Sheikha Moza said referenced updated estimates showing that there are over 63mn children still out of school, which may seem as an obstacle that may not be overcome.
In this regard, she added: "But I have come here today to tell you that if more champions of education stand up and take part, these problems can be overcome." 
"As the world grapples with crises, I have come here today to tell you that if we want to counter the ramifications of crises, education must become our first priority. If we wish for peace and prosperity for all, we must ensure education for all," Sheikha Moza added.
"I think we would all agree that education is a human right. And as a human right, education should be above all and certainly above politics. But sadly, this is often not the case. During the current siege against Qatar, for example, many Qatari students who were enrolled in schools in the blockading countries were expelled including students studying at Sorbonne's Middle East campus. But the blockading states, with their irresponsible acts and reckless ruthless games, did not stop there," she said.
"To cite one example, our programmes in Yemen, both education and employment initiatives, were indefinitely postponed last year. Halted because of their politique," Sheikha Moza said.
Her Highness added that she visited Yemen some years ago to see Qatar's programmes which help employ the Yemeni youth.
"Yemen is a land of civilization, has people with beautiful minds, and great potential. This vindictive act of halting these programs hurts the children of Yemen and jeopardises the nations future. Worse, if humanitarian aid is not immediately allowed, more and more people in Yemen will starve. This is just one tragic example of crisis in the world. Extremism thrives in environments characterised by hopelessness, frustration and despair, so finding ways to provide hope and opportunity should be a major priority," she said.
Sheikha Moza said that the long-term cost of failing to provide education, coupled with desperate circumstances, leave the young vulnerable to extremist ideologies.
Her Highness stressed that education gives young people the resilience and the critical skills they need to reject hate and violence.
"Realistically, we cannot stop all conflicts from happening, but we can prepare the minds of the youth for the chance to survive the chaos," Her Highness said.
She added that education is suffering in conflict areas, where it is needed the most.
"Unfortunately, education, as an institution, is currently fragile and defenceless. Algebra is not taught by soldiers in fortified compounds. It is taught by teachers in schools," Her Highness added.
The Chairperson of Education Above All stressed that the targeting of schools and the war orchestrated and waged against education must stop, stressing that Schools must become "safe havens." Students, and their teachers, must be "off limits" in conflict areas.
Her Highness expressed her belief that the international community has the authority to demand this, and that it must act.
Her Highness then called on international bodies, governments and government leaders to respect rights to education and to stop playing political games that affects education.
She also called for new partners and sponsors to join the campaign so that 63mn children will not be left behind, stressing once again that the feat was possible.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza said she was proud that Unesco was one of the foundation's strategic partners: "Since 2009, I have worked with Unesco to rehabilitate the Iraqi education system, from the primary grades to higher education. We have worked across the country, despite the instability, training teachers and developing curriculums to deliver quality education at all levels. And I'm pleased to say that today, that project is running successfully under the supervision of the Iraqi government."
Her Highness noted that the partnership with Unesco has increased since then to reach marginalised children in 11 countries. The chairperson highlighted that such achievements would not have been possible if it weren't for the contributions of the State of Qatar and the other partners.
Her Highness also stressed that their role is not over and the two sides signed an agreement with Unesco to educate 150-thousand more out-of-school children in the Middle East and Asia.
"Paris has historically served as a hub for international collaboration and President Macron is breathing new life into the drive to educate children around the world. So I am delighted to share these announcements in the presence of so many of our French partners, including the French Government, Humanity and Inclusion, and Aide-et-Action."
Her Highness noted that the past two decades have seen a transformation in education in Qatar.
On the international stage, Her Highness' work as an envoy of Unesco enabled her to meet children "who could only dream of receiving an education, children who faced discrimination, disability, conflict, natural disasters, and poverty, children who, over time, risked becoming mere statistics in annual reports." 
Sheikha Moza stressed that statistics cannot account for the impact of the children's broken dreams, and so there is a responsibility on everyone to not to be numbed by the numbers, and to refuse apathy as a response.
Her Highness noted that most large-scale-efforts to provide universal primary education became unfinished goals, stressing that solutions applied by the international community have fallen short.
Such failure made Educate A Child Foundation determined to be different, Her Highness added.
"We knew our resources would be limited, so we had to make a choice between two options: educate 60mn children for 1 year, or 10mn children for 6 years. We chose the latter. We wanted lasting change." 
Sheikha Moza said: "If new sponsors join the cause and replicate our model, I believe that together, we can educate all 63mn children. We can do this. It is possible. After all, we now know the formula: Dedicated partnerships using multi-sectoral solutions, fostered by strong political commitments. And we know that it works. We know that quality Education impacts development well beyond the walls of the classroom."
Her Highness explained "We know that quality Education impacts development well beyond the walls of the classroom.
Which is why multi-sectoral solutions have been so critical to achieving quick, on-the-ground results and long-lasting impact". Her Highness added "In Mali, for instance, we collaborated with 13 partners from different sectors to construct schools with proper hygiene facilities, build ramps for handicapped children, and help parents send their girls, as well as their boys, to school. We saw, first hand, how an education initiative drove development. So today I am inviting new partners to join us in this noble cause because I believe that if we can succeed in replicating this multi-sectoral model, we can actually achieve all of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals. Education is that powerful."
Her Highness said: "My friends, we have accomplished a lot with this multi-sectoral approach.
But there is still much to be done, which is why we need political commitments."
Her Highness noted: "We need each person to think of educating out-of-school children as a personal challenge, as their cause. If you are a sanitation company, If you build roads, If you provide clean water, If you supply electricity, If you specialise in nutrition, We need you to be a partner in educating children around the world. Scaling up this multi-sectoral solution will require thoughtful leadership and effective co-ordination."
Sheikha Moza concluded her speech by saying "France can take on this role through its unique position at Unesco. We are looking to you for this leadership, and we are here to help multiply the results. For my part, I have committed myself to striving, without end, to ensure quality education for all, above all."
Also, Sheikha Moza met a number of Qatari students who are studying in the French Republic, where they exchanged conversations about their study experience.



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