President Bill Clinton to be Honorary Chairman of Education Foundation
Dubai, UAE- December 14, 2011: President Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States was announced as the honorary Chairman of the Varkey GEMS Foundation, at a gala reception last night in Dubai. The Varkey GEMS Foundation is the philanthropic arm of GEMS Education, which is based in Dubai, and is the largest kindergarten to grade 12 private education operators in the world. The Varkey GEMS Foundation is a not for profit education Foundation.
President Clinton said, “Access to education provides the means to lift children out of poverty and that an educated child affects not only the child itself, but his or her family and the wider community. The Varkey GEMS Foundation's commitment will bring this opportunity to millions more children around the world by improving the quality and access to education for those less fortunate. One of the things I have learned travelling the world is that intelligence is evenly distributed but opportunity is not.
“Our ability to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, like poverty, is only possible when the private sector works alongside, and in partnership with, intergovernmental agencies and NGO’s and the Varkey GEMS Foundation is an excellent example of that. Recently the Foundation announced a partnership with UNESCO to train 10,000 school Principals in India, Kenya and India,”said President Clinton.
GEMS Education will leverage the experience of its 10,000 educational professionals and support staff, its community of over 100,000 students and families to help raise the standards of education for the world’s poorest children to make sure that every child has a chance to prosper.
The work of the Foundation would not be possible without the wonderful support from its sponsors; Samsung, Standard Chartered, Mastercard, Saif Belhasa Group of Companies, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Mashreq Bank, ALMOE and Dubai Duty Free. The Foundation would also like to thank Dubai Cares and Ernst and Young for their support.
The Chairman of GEMS Education, Sunny Varkey said, “We are honored and privileged to have President Clinton as our honorary Chairman. The Foundation’s aim is to impact the lives of 10 million underprivileged children globally and I know that with his support we have a good chance of reaching that objective. Up to 70 million school age children worldwide do not have access to education, that is a travesty and we intend to do something about that by using all the resources available to us.”
“By working with international organisations that promote better educational standards, we seek to use our best talent, insight, and intellectual property to make a vital difference to the knowledge, skills and abilities of school leaders and teachers, who make the essential difference in a child’s educational journey. We are proud of our association with UNESCO, Dubai Cares, Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Pratham in India, and the Clinton Global Initiative,” said Mr.Varkey.
GEMS students are taught four core behaviours and one of those is ‘World Citizenship’ which emphasizes the importance of ‘giving’ to both the local and global community. The GEMS community has been committed to ‘giving’ for many years and students, staff and parents have been involved in a wide variety of community based charity initiatives.
Throughout GEMS’ 50 year history, the GEMS community and the Varkey family have raised or contributed tens of millions of dollars for causes that matter most to them. In addition GEMS Education provides subsidies and scholarships to more than 3,000 children in our own network of schools on an annual basis.
Background: The Varkey GEMS Foundation is focused on a number of important initiatives including: