The Commission was initially co-convened in 2015 by Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, former President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, President Peter Mutharika of Malawi and the former Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova. The UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, serves as the Chair of the Commission.
The Commission comprises the following high-level individuals representing diverse geographical and disciplinary backgrounds:
UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Former Prime Minister, United Kingdom
He is the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and is a passionate advocate for the rights of children and believes every girl and boy deserves the opportunity of an education, learning and skills for the future. Since September 2021, he also serves as WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing.
Gordon is Chair of the High-Level Steering Group of Education Cannot Wait, the education in emergencies fund; Chair of the Inquiry on Protecting Children in Conflict; and serves as Chair of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.
Gordon is the author of several books including Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation, My Life, Our Times and most recently, Seven Ways to Change the World (Simon & Schuster, June 2021).
CEO, edX; Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Anant won the Maurice Wilkes prize for computer architecture, and MIT’s Smullin and Jamieson prizes for teaching. He holds a Guinness World Record for the largest microphone array, and is an author of the textbook Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits.
Scientific American selected his work on organic computing as one of 10 World-Changing Ideas in 2011, and he was named in Forbes‘ list of top 15 education innovators in 2012. Anant, a pioneer in computer architecture, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.
He hacks on WebSim, an online circuits laboratory, in his spare time. Anant holds a Ph.D. from Stanford and a bachelor’s from IIT Madras.
José Manuel Barroso
Non-Executive Chairman, Goldman Sachs International; Former President, European Commission
In 1980 he joined the Social Democratic Party (PSD). He was first elected to the Portuguese parliament in 1985 and was re-elected six times thereafter. In 1999 he was elected President of the PSD and re-elected three times. During the same period, he served as Vice President of the European People’s Party, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and Minister for Foreign Affairs. Under his leadership, the PSD won the general election in 2002 and he was appointed Prime Minister of Portugal. He remained in office until July 2004 when he was nominated by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament to the post of President of the European Commission. In June 2009 the European Council unanimously nominated him for a second term as President of the European Commission, and he was re-elected by an absolute majority in the European Parliament in September 2009.
He has also participated in several international missions including, among others, head of the IDEA delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996) and advisor to the United Nations in projects for Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Former President, Mexico
Prior to becoming president Felipe Calderón served as Secretary of Energy, and General Director of BANOBRAS (the public works and infrastructure bank). He was elected to the Federal Congress in 1991, becoming Secretary-General of the PAN (National Action Party), President and Leader of the Parliamentary Group. He was earlier a Representative in the Assembly of Mexico City (1988-91).
Felipe Calderón is Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, as well as current Honorary Chairman of the Green Growth Action Alliance; President of the Sustainable Human Development Foundation; and a Member of the Board of Directors of the World Resources Institute.
Felipe Calderón has a Bachelor’s degree in law, a Masters in Economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México; and a Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Managing Director, Civita; Former Minister of Education and Research and Former Minister of Labour and Government Administration, Norway
She served as Minister of Education and Research from 2001 to 2005. As Minister of Education and Research, Clemet became known for her work in carrying out “The Quality Reform” (Kvalitetsreformen) in the Norwegian university system. She has a Master of Business Administration from the Norwegian School of Economics.
CEO, Dangote Group
Dangote was appointed chairman to the National Job Creation Committee to assist the government in providing more employment opportunities for Nigerians. In addition, he serves as chairman of the National Partnership Committee of Government and Private Sector on Technical and Vocational Education and Training, which seeks to develop the right skills and competency to support industrial development in Nigeria. He is also a member of the Honourary International Investor Council, a forum that is concerned with how to sustain the delivery of good governance, improve national and international perception, and increase private participation in the re-engineering of the economy.
He is a founding board member and patron of Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, a coalition between the private sector and health organisations to achieve the health-related MDGs by 2015. Beyond the shores of Nigeria, Aliko Dangote has also recorded milestones in philanthropy. He is a member of the McKinsey Advisory Council and the Clinton Global Initiative and a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2013, Aliko Dangote was appointed to the steering committee of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, a forum connecting businesses to make a lasting impact on the lives of children and youth through education. He is a founding member of the Global Business Coalition for Education as a representative from business.
Board Chair, Global Partnership for Education; Former Prime Minister, Australia
During her tenure as Prime Minister, she delivered nation-changing policies including reforming Australia’s education at every level from early childhood to university education, improving the provision and sustainability of health care, aged care and dental care, commencing the nation’s first ever national scheme to care for people with disabilities. Before becoming Prime Minister, Ms. Gillard was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion. From 2003 to 2006, Ms. Gillard served as Shadow Minister for Health, followed in 2006 by an appointment as Shadow Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations and Social Inclusion.
Previously, from 1998 to 2000, Ms. Gillard was a member of the House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Workplace Relations. In 2001 Ms. Gillard was appointed Shadow Minister for Population and Immigration and in 2003 took on responsibilities for Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs. From 1996 to 1998, Ms. Gillard served as Chief-of-Staff to the Opposition Leader of the State of Victoria. Prior to entering politics, Ms. Gillard worked as a solicitor in Melbourne with the law firm Slater and Gordon and became a Partner in 1990. Ms. Gillard retired from political life following the 2013 Australian national election.
Baela Raza Jamil
CEO, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA)
She is on the boards of many government, academic and civil society organizations in Pakistan and on the Advisory Boards of the Global Monitoring Report (GMR), Learning Assessment at the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) and Global Business Coalition for Education. Baela is a member of regional and international professional associations such as BAICE, CIES, SAFED, ARNEC & ASBAE.
CEO, Education Outcomes Fund; Former Minister of Tourism, Tunisia
Until February 2015, Dr. Karboul was Minister of Tourism in the Tunisian transition government that was appointed after the successful quartet negotiations during which she was nominated as one of the 10 leading young African politicians. She has held leadership roles at Mercedes-Benz and DaimlerChrysler and was a senior consultant at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Beratergruppe Neuwaldegg. She served as Secretary-General of the Maghreb Economic Forum (MEF). With this work, she has become known as an award-winning executive coach, published author, and a trusted advisor for CEO’s of global organizations as well as family-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.
Dr. Karboul holds a master’s with honors in mechanical engineering from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany and a doctorate in coaching and mentoring from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom. She has served on the advisory boards of CLP, WTFL, and GBC-Ed. Dr. Karboul published her book Coffin Corner outlining a new leadership culture suited to the complexity and dynamics of the 21st century. She is a true advocate for believing that quality education is possible for everyone. Please watch her TED talk on the Learning Generation here.
Former President, Tanzania
During his tenure in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he led Tanzania’s efforts to bring about peace in the Great Lakes region, particularly in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As Chairman of East African Community’s Council of Ministers, he played a pivotal role in moving forward the process of regional integration in East Africa, particularly the delicate negotiations of establishing a Customs Union between Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. He also Co-chaired the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy with the Foreign Minister of Finland.
In January 2008, President Kikwete was elected Chairman of the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Government, where he took a proactive role in resolution of conflicts in the Republic of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also advanced to greater heights the relations between the AU and the UN, EU and International Community at large.
Vice Chairman and Partner, Global Infrastructure Partners; Former President, World Bank Group
Before joining the World Bank, he served as President of Dartmouth College and held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. From 2003-2005, as Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS Department, he led the “3 by 5” initiative, the first-ever global goal for AIDS treatment, which helped to expand AIDS treatment in developing countries. In 1987, Kim co-founded Partners In Health, a non-profit medical organization now working in poor communities on four continents. Trained as a physician and an anthropologist, he has received several awards, including a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and recognitions such as one of America’s “25 Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report, and in 2006 TIME magazine named him as one of its “100 Most Influential People in the World.
Governor of Tokyo, Former Minister of Defense, Japan
In 2008 she was a candidate in the election for Leader of Japan’s ruling party. If successful, she would have become Japan’s first female candidate to Prime Minister. Koike began her career as a TV presenter. She graduated from Cairo University, Egypt. She has written books and magazine articles on Japanese politics, international affairs and career women’s networking. In the current legislature of the House of Representatives, Ms. Koike was elected President of GLOBE Japan, one of the most established and oldest chapters in the GLOBE International network.
Former Executive Director, UNICEF
Upon leaving the government, he served as the United States President’s Special Envoy, first in Ethiopia and Eritrea, and later in Haiti. He has served on the boards of Save the Children (1975–1977) and the Overseas Development Council, has been an International Adviser to the International Committee of the Red Cross (2000-2003) and Chair of the Marshall Legacy Institute, which works in conflict-affected countries to remove landmines and assist survivors, and advance children’s rights.
Anthony Lake’s ties with UNICEF are long-standing, dating back to 1993, when he worked with UNICEF’s third Executive Director, James P. Grant, on the organization’s presentation of its flagship publication, ‘The State of the World’s Children’, at the White House. From 1998 to 2007 he served on the Board of the US Fund for UNICEF, with a term as Chair from 2004 to 2007, after which he was appointed a permanent honorary member.
Professor, KDI School of Public Policy and Management; Former Minister of Education, Science, and Technology, South Korea
He received his BA and MA degrees from Seoul National University and his PhD in Economics from Cornell University in 1990. After his nine-year service in the Korean parliament and government, he returned to academia in 2013 as a professor at the KDI School of Public Policy and Management. Utilizing his experience as a high-ranking public servant, he actively resumed his research on human capital and innovation policies, covering a wide range of issues including 21st century skills, changes in the education workforce, strategies for education reforms, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, innovation ecosystems, and government reforms. In addition to serving as an Education Commissioner, he is also actively working for the international community as a Commissioner of 3ie and as Chair of the Education Workforce Initiative.
Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group
Jack currently serves on the board of SoftBank Corp., one of our major shareholders and a Japanese corporation listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. He is also chair of The Nature Conservancy’s China board of directors and a member of its global board of directors. In September 2013, he joined the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Foundation as a director. In August 2014, Jack was elected to the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum. In January 2016, he was named a Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocate by the United Nations. Jack graduated from Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute with a major in English language education.
Founder, Graça Machel Trust
In the years following her government ministry, Machel produced a groundbreaking UNICEF report on the impact of armed conflict on children that changed the way the United Nations and member states respond in conflict zones. Since then, she has worked tirelessly in support of global health, child welfare, and women’s rights and empowerment. Machel is a founding member of The Elders, and played a key role in establishing Girls Not Brides. She is the Board Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, African Ambassador for A Promised Renewed, Board Chair of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes, and President of the Foundation for Community Development.
As founder of the Graça Machel Trust, she has more recently focused on advocating for women’s economic and financial empowerment, education for all, an end to child marriage, food security and nutrition, and democracy and good governance. Machel has been recognized for her work on the Africa Progress Panel, the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group, and the High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Graça Machel has dedicated her life to improving lives, inspiring hope, and building a more just and equitable world for us all.
Executive Chairman and Founder, Econet Wireless
Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College and the Hilton Foundation’s Humanitarian Prize Jury. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education.
Masiyiwa currently co-chairs the AU/WEF platform for investment in African agriculture, known as Grow Africa, and recently took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, the Chair of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, asked Masiyiwa to help mobilise resources for Africa’s response to the EBOLA outbreak. This was the first time the AU had asked a business leader to undertake such a role. Masiyiwa, with the help of other leaders, set up the first ever Pan African fund raising campaign known as the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Fund.
As a philanthropist, Strive Masiyiwa and his wife Tsitsi Masiyiwa, are members of the Giving Pledge and finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans.
Teopista Birungi Mayanja
Regional Coordinator, Africa Network Campaign for Education For All (ANCEFA); Founder, Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU)
International Artist; Founder, Fundación Pies Descalzos
Shakira also serves as one of UNICEF’s Goodwill Ambassadors, advocating for the importance of establishing political initiatives that put an end to the higher number of children without access to education. Shakira is also founder of the Pies Descalzos Foundation in Barranquilla, Colombia, which consists of support programs for children and their families to increase quality of life and give them opportunity to exercise their right to an education, which will later determine their growth and development in society. Shakira has won many awards for her music, including two Grammy Awards, eight Latin Grammy Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards, 28 Billboard Latin Music Awards and has been Golden Globe-nominated.
Professor, University of Chile; President, Fundación Chile
He has been Director of the Department of Industrial Engineering, and Director of the Master in Management and Public Policy at the University of Chile. Additionally, he has served as a Visiting Professor at UC San Diego, University of Oviedo, Boston University and Notre Dame University. Dr. Meller has been a Visiting Researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is the author and editor of 17 books in Spanish, English and French and 72 journal and book chapters specialized in economics (43 articles in Spanish, 26 in English and 3 in Portuguese). Dr. Meller holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Director-General, World Trade Organisation
Before that, she was Nigeria’s Finance minister for three years and was briefly Minister of Foreign Affairs. As Minister of Finance, she spearheaded the negotiations with the Paris Club of Creditors that led to the wiping out of US$30 billion of Nigeria’s debt. Prior to her government service, she had spent 21 years at the World Bank, rising to the position of Vice President and Corporate Secretary.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala serves or has served on numerous boards and advisory groups, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the African Institutes of Science and Technology, the Center for Global Development, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the newly-formed African Risk Capacity – an institution of the African Union charged with insuring African countries against the risk of climate change. In 2011 and 2012 she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes, and one of 100 Top Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy. A Distinguished Fellow of the Brookings Institution, she is also the author of several books and articles. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at Harvard University and a Ph.D. in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi
Minister of State for Tolerance, United Arab Emirates
In addition to her current role, Sheikha Lubna is a Board Member of the Emirates Foundation Abu Dhabi and the Dubai School of Government, and Chair of ‘Tejari’, which she guided to become the premier business-to-business marketplace for emerging markets in her previous capacity as CEO. Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna is also a Board Member of Friends for Cancer Patients, a Trustee of the Electronic Total Quality Management College and a Member of the Board of Trustees for Thunder Bird, The American Graduate School of International Management College, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Her Excellency Sheikha Lubna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science from California State University of Chico. She also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the American University of Sharjah.
Founder, Bachpan Bachao Andolan
He is also the founding president of the Global Campaign for Education, an exemplar civil society movement working to end the global education crisis and GoodWeave International for raising consumer awareness and positive action in the carpet industry. In 2014, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University
Amartya Sen has served as President of the Econometric Society, the American Economic Association, the Indian Economic Association, and the International Economic Association. He was formerly Honorary President of OXFAM and is now its Honorary Advisor. His research has ranged over social choice theory, economic theory, ethics and political philosophy, welfare economics, theory of measurement, decision theory, development economics, public health, and gender studies. Amartya Sen’s books have been translated into more than thirty languages, and include Choice of Techniques (1960), Growth Economics (1970), Collective Choice and Social Welfare (1970), Choice, Welfare and Measurement (1982), Commodities and Capabilities (1987), The Standard of Living (1987), Development as Freedom (1999), Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (2006), The Idea of Justice (2009), and (jointly with Jean Dreze) An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions (2013).
Amartya Sen’s awards include Bharat Ratna (India); Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur (France); the National Humanities Medal (USA); Ordem do Merito Cientifico (Brazil); Honorary Companion of Honour (UK); Aztec Eagle (Mexico); Edinburgh Medal (UK); the George Marshall Award (USA); the Eisenhauer Medal (USA); and the Nobel Prize in Economics.
CEO, African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF)
Born in Ghana, she has lived and worked in many countries in Africa, as well as the UK, Europe, and the USA. Her work includes advisory roles to African and other international women and children’s rights activists and leaders, plus policy development and advocacy with a variety of international agencies and organizations. She was Senior Program Advisor on the UN Study on Children and Armed Conflict (the Machel Report) and led the five-year review of the report.
Theo is a board member of various national and international civil society organizations and grant making foundations, including being a trustee of Comic Relief (a multimillion grant making foundation) and Chair of Comic Relief’s International Grants Committee; a member of the African Advisory Board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation; a Patron of Evidence for Development; a member of the UBS Optimus Foundation and a board member of the Graça Machel Trust. She has authored many publications, including being a contributing editor to ‘The Impact of War on Children’; a contributing author and co editor of a Harvard Law School/UNICEF Innocenti publication on ‘Children and Transitional Justice’; and co author of ‘Groupwork and Intermediate Treatment’. Theo was awarded a CBE in June 2010.
Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University; 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton; Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama
He received a bachelor of science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975 and was awarded a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1982. In 1983, he became one of the youngest individuals in recent history to be named as a tenured member of the Harvard University faculty. In 1987 Mr. Summers became the first social scientist ever to receive the annual Alan T. Waterman Award of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in 1993, he was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, given every two years to the outstanding American economist under the age of 40.
He is currently the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University. He and his wife Elisa New, a professor of English at Harvard, reside in Brookline with their six children.
Former CEO, Save the Children International; Former Prime Minister, Denmark
Liesbet Steer, Ph.D.
Director, International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity
Before joining the Commission, Liesbet was a fellow at the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution and director of the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) flagship program on development progress, financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As a fellow of ODI’s Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure, she also worked on issues of development finance, aid effectiveness, and the production and use of impact evaluations, including in education. Between 1997 and 2007, Liesbet lived and worked in Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, and Cambodia. She directed the economic reform program for the Asia Foundation in Indonesia, a technical assistance and research program on local economic development and growth. She also worked with the World Bank and IFC on private sector reform and the design and evaluation of SME development programs in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
Liesbet was educated at the Universities of Antwerp and East Anglia, and the London School of Economics. She holds a M.Sc. in Quantitative Economics, and Ph.D. in Development Economics.