Rihanna takes to twitter to rally world leaders for education

GPE Board Chair Julia Gillard was joined by GPE Global Ambassador Rihanna and Global Citizen CEO and co-founder Hugh Evans during a trip to Malawi.

GPE Board Chair Julia Gillard was joined by GPE Global Ambassador Rihanna and Global Citizen CEO and co-founder Hugh Evans during a trip to Malawi.

CREDIT: Evan Rogers

International super star and GPE Global Ambassador Rihanna set twitter on fire recently, calling on world leaders to prioritize education financing and GPE’s replenishment. Within one day, her tweets were trending, retweets were increasing by the thousands each second.

Hot on the heels of releasing a video about her recent visit to Malawi with GPE and Global Citizen, Rihanna tweeted to G20 leaders, calling on them to prioritize funding for global education when they met in Hamburg, Germany and to support GPE’s replenishment.

She then took one step further, tweeting the leaders of France, Argentina and Canada, plus Steffan Siebert, the spokesperson for Germany's Chancelor Angela Merkel.

The reaction has been phenomenal, with thousands of people taking to twitter to support Rihanna’s call to action for global education. Global leaders reacted too.

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri and Seibert of Germany responded and publicly reaffirmed the primacy of education in their country’s policy goals, with Macri’s team also announcing that education will be at the center of his G20 presidency in 2018.

“We've got your back!” responded Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada who also shared that girls' education is part of Canada's feminist international development policy.

Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, took to twitter to thank Rihanna for shining a light on the urgent need to address education financing, adding that it is time for the G20 to deliver.

GPE Board Chair Julia Gillard tweeted that real action by the G20 would be to support GPE's replenishment so that countries can build schools, train teachers and deliver quality education for all.

Worldwide media coverage

Rihanna advocacy for GPE was covered by hundreds of media outlets across the world from the BBC to Time magazine to L'Express

With a following on social media the size of a small country (75 million and counting) the BBC article purported that perhaps Rihanna might get a mention at the G20 summit herself. 

Alas no mention for Rihanna, but the world leaders heard her and the thousands of activist groups who tirelessly pushed the G20 leaders to prioritize education.

The G20 Leaders Declaration: Shaping an Interconnected World emphasizes the importance of education in achieving sustainability, women's empowerment, bridging the digital divide and boosting employment. The historic recognition of education in the G20 communique makes specific reference to the role of GPE, Education Cannot Wait and an international financing facility for education.

Education advocacy works

The world is clearly recognizing the critical role equitable access to quality education plays in ensuring more prosperous, secure and healthy communities. In early 2018 GPE will hold a replenishment conference to raise funds that will help the education of up to 870 million children living in 89 countries.

GPE aims to be a US$2 billion per year organization by 2020, and is seeking donor contributions for 2018 to 2020 to strengthen education systems and improve learning, efficiency and equity so that all children and youth are equipped to work and thrive in the 21st century.

Now the eagle eyes among you may have noted that President Macron did not respond to Rihanna’s tweet. He did one better… he invited her to meet with him at the Élysée in Paris this Wednesday.

We at GPE are honored to work with Global Citizen and Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation to support Rihanna’s role as GPE Global Ambassador. With Rihanna on our side, and the growing number of civil society organizations joining advocacy efforts to ensure education for all, we cannot wait to see what comes next.

Stay tuned!

Financing, SDG 4


Senior Partnerships Specialist, Advocacy, Global Partnership for Education
Sinead is a seasoned public policy and advocacy specialist with over 15 years experience working on global health and development. She began her career with the World Health Organization...

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