Georgetown University Thought Leadership Seminar Tackles the Right to Education for All
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Education Above All and UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate, joined Dr. Alaa Murabit, UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment & Economic Growth, and The Honorable Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, in seminar discussion tackling the rising global challenge of education during times of conflict and insecurity.
Education Above All and Georgetown University co-hosted the thought leadership seminar, “The Right to Education for All,” at Georgetown University’s Riggs Library, where the discussion was moderated by Georgetown President John DeGoia.
The distinguished group discussed achievements in overcoming barriers to education for the world’s most marginalised children; including barriers related to girls’ education, poverty, challenging geographies, and conflict. HH Sheikha Moza specifically focused on the importance of protecting education in times of crisis, viewing it as essential in preparing future generations to break the cycle of conflict and rebuild their communities for lasting growth and stability.
“Unfortunately, education is the first victim when it comes to times of war… During conflict, education provides normalcy, continuity and sustainability,” said Her Highness. “In post-conflict, it allows young educated leaders to come back to their countries and break the cycle of violence, redefine new sets of values, and reconstruct their social contracts.”
She further stressed that universities have a role to play in protecting education in conflict by using innovation to find and accelerate solutions. “We cannot wait [for world leaders to solve this global issue]. We need to act and act immediately. We need to be innovative in our thinking of the problem and how to solve it. We see innovation all the time in the private sector when driven by the need for return on investment. We need to bring this same level of creative thinking to address education in conflict,” she continued.
According to UNESCO, 264 million children and youth are still out of school around the world, of which 64 million are of primary school age. In particular, the poorest and most marginalised, including ethnic and religious minorities, persons with disabilities, girls, and populations experiencing conflict, are often systematically unable to access and complete a full cycle of quality education.
Georgetown, a natural host for such a discussion, aims to educate students with the knowledge, skills, and values to serve the global common good. This ethic of teaching and learning in service to the world has the potential to be a global game-changer. The university works towards this end through research, student experiential learning, and partnerships with mission-driven entities around the world.
"Georgetown was honoured to welcome this panel of distinguished leaders, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Dr. Alaa Murabit, and the Honorable Melanne Verveer, who, together, provided an opportunity for all of us to better understand the unique conditions and concerns of young people who face barriers to basic education around our world," said John J. DeGioia, President, Georgetown University.
The panel took questions from the audience, and a reception immediately followed the event.