Posted on November 20, 2017

ExxonMobil Foundation President Kevin Murphy participated in a high-level plenary session entitled “Education for Refugee Youth: From Policies to Programming, Let the Evidence Speak” at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha on Nov. 16.

Organized by Education Above All (EAA), the plenary also included  Commissioner Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management (Cyprus); Allen E. Goodman, Founder, International Institute of Education (USA); and Dr. Alaa Murabit, SDG Advocate and UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment and Economic Growth (Canada). The session was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al Misnad, Chairperson and Founder, Education Above All Foundation; Her Excellency Sheikha Hind Bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development; key government officials; international academia representatives;and various stakeholders in education.

The conversation focused on the 260 million children and adolescents who remain out of school worldwide as a result of poverty, cultural factors, natural disasters and other barriers to quality education. The plenary emphasized that without immediate action, more than  half of the upcoming youth generation – 825 million of the 1.6 billion young people in 2030 – could be left behind on opportunities provided by education. In his opening remarks, Murphy spoke about the role of the corporate sector in helping achieve the goals of U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 4: inclusive and quality education for all. He discussed the ExxonMobil Foundation’s projects and the partnerships it has developed to address the challenge of getting out-of-school children around the world into classrooms. 

“I would like to thank Qatar Foundation, WISE and Education Above All for inviting me to participate on behalf of the ExxonMobil Foundation in this important conversation,”Murphy said. “ExxonMobil knows firsthand what is possible when partners work together. Our Foundation is proud to support programs that embody the United Nations’ strategies to achieve inclusive and quality education for all.”

Murphy highlighted ExxonMobil Foundation’s partnership with Educate A Child, a global initiative launched by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser almost five years ago. More than 61 million children worldwide do not have access to a quality primary school education. Educate A Child plans to ultimately enroll more than 10 million children into quality schools. To date, Educate A Child has already helped 6.6 million children, and plans are being developed to help an additional three million children in 40 different countries.

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“ExxonMobil supports Educate A Child projects that are already underway in Nigeria and Angola. As a society, we cannot create sustainable communities if we don’t first provide access to schools,” Murphy said.

“Millions of children around the world face barriers like conflict, cultural factors and gender inequality that prevent them from attending school and having the education they deserve,” said Fahad Al Sulaiti, chief executive officer, Education Above All. “Every child has the right to a primary education guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and it is our collective responsibility as a global community to make certain each child gets the education they deserve.

“With this commitment guiding our work, Education Above All has been working with corporate and community partners to provide children around the world with the opportunity to learn, and in turn break the cycle of poverty. If we are to effectively reach our goals, we need to discuss what's important and better support one another. That is what today’s plenary was all about, and I am grateful to those who participated. By putting our heads together, I believe that we can empower children around the world to lead the lives they dream of living, and help them believe in a brighter future,” he added.

ExxonMobil recognizes that education is the fundamental building block of individual opportunity and economic growth, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM skills) in particular are critical to ensuring today’s students are prepared for the jobs of the 21st century. With nearly 30,000 scientists and engineers from all over the world at the center of its operations, ExxonMobil relies on a skilled workforce. Over the past 16 years, it has contributed more than $1.2 billion to education initiatives around the world.

ExxonMobil’s education programs focus on three key areas: supporting highly qualified teachers in math and science; encouraging students from all backgrounds to pursue math and science; and graduating more students from high school ready for success in college and careers. ExxonMobil Qatar began its support for WISE since it was first established in 2009, and is the 2017 summit’s silver sponsor. WISE continues to be of great importance to ExxonMobil Qatar as a partner that shares the same vision for the future of education and the possibilities and exciting opportunities we can provide for our children.