Nobel laureates and leading human
rights activists Tuesday issued a call for the creation of a Global Fund for Education. They say hundreds of millions of young
children and adolescents are unable to attend school and about 770-million
adults remain illiterate.
Desmond Tutu, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson and Professor Muhammad
Yunas, founder of the Grameen Bank, have written a letter to President Obama and
the other G8 leaders. They're asking
them to follow through on a pledge made by Mr. Obama to provide at least $2
billion to create a global fund for education.
The G8 leaders hold a summit next week in Italy.
Tutu praised President Obama's pledge and US support.
"Because of what you did in
the United States, (We) felt a new surge of hope. And despite the fact that there has been this
economic downturn, this flame of hope still burns high," he says.
Something quite exciting
says there are long range benefits. Girls, who become mothers after having five
years of formal education, are much more likely to have healthier children.
a fantastic return on that investment," says Tutu.
Archbishop Tutu in Tuesday's calling for a Global Fund for Education is Desmond
Birmingham, a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development.
have a tremendous opportunity here. I
think the good news is many developing countries around the world have got
sound education plans in place. And they
are investing their own money in those plans and they are making remarkable progress,"
Success in Africa
"Rwanda, 10 years after the genocide, more
than doubled the number of children in school and reached almost a hundred
percent of their girl children going to school," he says.
is another example, despite hard economic times.
has recruited literally tens of thousands of additional teachers to help get
children in school," he says.
agrees with Archbishop Tutu that a good education benefits health and much
is probably the single most effective intervention to reduce the risk of young
women becoming HIV positive and also to help them take greater control over
their lives and greater control over when they start families," he says.
has also been shown to make a major contribution to better governance in
countries. Educated young people demand
and expect good government and democratic and open government. And they are far less vulnerable to persuasion
of extremists,' he says.
He adds, "Many countries around the
world are emerging out of conflict and deep war. Educating the young people gives them an
opportunity…to do something different and something better and take control of
their lives and build peace for their country."