The seventh annual Global Education & Skills Forum 2019 opened on 23rd March at The Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, UAE, with an emotional plea by Rohingyas to support the education of refugee children, whose only hope for the future rests on it. Addressing the audience, Ahmed Ullah, organiser of peace rallies and co-writer of ‘I Am Rohingya’ and Zainab Arkani, who runs the world’s first Rohingya school in Canada, said ensuring the education of the children is the only way forward to rebuild their lives.
Held under the theme of ‘Who is changing the world?’, the Global Education & Skills Forum (GESF 2019), a Varkey Foundation initiative, brings together more than 2,200 delegates from 144 countries, who will discuss pressing challenges in the education sector – as well as in society – through 124 sessions. Seven former heads of state and 40 ministers of education attended the Forum, joined by a new generation of change-makers, including grassroots activists, philanthropists, tech developers and many more, who are shaping the world with new voices, new ideas and new technologies.
Asif Saleh, Senior Director – Strategy, Communications and Empowerment, BRAC, the NGO, said Bangladesh opened doors to over 700,000 Rohingya refugees and provided emergency support. “The greatest challenge now is to ensure children have access to education and skills training or risk losing out a large generation of people.” He said that donor fatigue is setting in with only about 40 per cent of the current year’s need of over US$600 million met. “We need to have a mid-term solution – and that is skills building and creating livelihood opportunities to create self-sufficiency.”