Qatar hosted the informal virtual consultative regional meeting for the Arab region and West Asia, in preparation for the Transforming Education Summit 2022 slated to be held in New York next September, in co-operation with the Office of the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and the Education Above All Foundation.
This meeting came at Qatar's initiative, and as an affirmation of its true belief and continued commitment that quality education is a universal human right and a fundamental basis for achieving sustainable development.
The meeting was chaired by HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Buthaina bint Ali al-Jabr al-Nuaimi and its sessions were moderated by HE Permanent Representative of Qatar to the UN Sheikha Alya Ahmed bin Saif al-Thani, and CEO of the Education Above All Foundation Fahad al-Sulaiti, with the participation of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South and Central Asia, North Africa, the United Nations and the Commonwealth in the British Government, as well as ministers of education and representatives of ministers in 23 countries of the Arab region and West Asia.
Welcoming the ministers and participating officials, HE al-Nuaimi said that Qatar is one of the strongest supporters of the Education Transformation Summit, which was called for by the UN Secretary-General. She pointed out that Qatar through this consultative meeting is seeking to prepare for the Preparatory Summit for the Transformation in Education to be held in Paris from June 28-30, and in preparation for the Education Transformation Summit slated to be held by the UN Secretary-General in New York on September 19.
She underlined that Qatar's support for the Education Transformation Summit reflects the state's vision for education as one of the main pillars for developing a national, knowledge-based and diversified economy that provides a prosperous and secure future for Qatari citizens. She pointed out that Qatar National Vision 2030 is not confined to building a global educational system that provides exceptional opportunities for high-quality education and training, but its permanent constitution establishes education as a basic rule for achieving progress and social advancement.
She indicated that Qatar's support for the right to education as a basis for development was not limited only to the interior, but also transcended to all parts of the world through the establishment of Qatar Foundation for the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in 2009 under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, in response to the need to revitalise education, provide a global platform for developing ideas, and develop solutions characterised by creativity and innovation to meet the challenges facing education, as well as the establishment of the Education Above All Foundation and its various activities around the world, to provide equitable and inclusive education as a basic right for all in more from 60 countries.
HE the Minister of Education added that financing education is a top priority for Qatar's policy for development aid, and said that in line with the basic principle of the 2030 Agenda, which is "leaving no one behind", Qatar pays special attention to children of early age. Some 61mn primary schoolchildren are out of school due to numerous and complex barriers that impede their access to education, including extreme poverty, distance from schools, and ongoing conflict.
She explained that over the past decade, Qatar, through the Qatar Fund for Development, has supported educational projects worth $1bn around the world. It also played a major role in providing educational aid by approving funding programs and annual funding, adding that, since 2013, the commitments of education programs in the Qatar Fund for Development amounted to more than $850mn, reaching more than 70 countries around the world.
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