Months of preparation
The World Assembly is a unique event for the education civil society movement, bringing together members, partners and donors of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE). The logistics behind the organization of such an event is highly complex, and the months, weeks and days prior to the opening day were intense to anticipate and solve difficulties.
It didn't prevent the last days to come with their lot of unplanned changes; long days following short nights for the GCE and NCE Nepal teams. The teams were mobilized to make the Kathmandu meeting a success despite the stress and last-minute surprises.
For a series of unique events...
The Global Learning Event for the beneficiaries of the Civil Society Education Fund (CSEF), funded by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), started off its meetings on November 13. More than 100 participants from 60 coalitions coming from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East came together for animated debates on major themes like resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation, good financial governance, education financing, gender issues and youth participation in national coalitions.
On the agenda were also discussions about the future of the CSEF program within the new GPE framework of the Advocacy and Social Accountability (ASA) mechanism.
What was most striking was the gathering, in such a small space of so much passion, expertise and knowledge.
At the same time, on the 3rd floor of the event venue, another historical meeting for the global education movement was taking place. For the first time ever, 37 young activists from all over the world met to discuss their common vision for the future of education.
The GCE Youth Caucus was organized from start to finish by and for the youth, and during two full days they worked hard to bring about new ideas and make propositions to define their place in the GCE movement. They produced policy motions and recommendations for the broader World Assembly to consider, asking for more representativeness in the movement and a second Board seat designated for youth.
And a really successful assembly
The World Assembly itself was the last meeting held in Kathmandu and the highlight of the week. As the World Assembly is GCE's governing body, this is a crucial moment. The assembly has the mandate to adopt the movement's strategy and elect its governance.
From many points of view, this 6th World Assembly has been a real success for the movement.
First, by its attendance. This was a truly global event, representative of the whole international education civil society, with more than 300 participants, members and partners included - an all-time record! All continents were represented, from Vanuatu, Iraq, Cameroon, Mozambique, Norway to Pakistan, Costa Rica, Italy, Brazil or Canada - to name only a few.
Secondly, by its prestigious guests. This year's assembly was honored to welcome Her Excellency Amina J. Mohammed, the United Nations Deputy Secretary General for an inspiring keynote address, which largely contributed to lift the spirit of everyone at the event.
In her speech, she recognized that, despite all efforts, education is still in crisis. She considered it a sign and wake-up call for civil society, and encouraged organizations in the room to become stronger, reinvent themselves and move forward with the objective of reaching SDG 4 targets in 2030.
The World Assembly also welcomed Nora Fyles, the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) Director, Dr. Boly Barry, Special Rapporteur for the Right to Education, and His Excellency Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, the Nepalese Foreign Minister.
At the heart of the 6th World Assembly was the thirst for renovation and progress. It gave birth to vibrant debates and paved the way for new voices, such as the youth who led the way with their communicative energy.
GCE adopted a revised strategic direction with six core focus areas and new policy motions building on a solid legacy. GCE's governance has been almost entirely changed, with the support of the immediate past president and Board Chair as key to ensure a smooth transition, and the creation of a Board member seat for the youth constituency was adopted.
Overall, the Assembly was an opportunity to reassert the fundamental values of the movement, the success of its democratic processes and its anchor and inspiration from civil society activists from all around the world.
GCE defends the universal values of education as a human right, as the fundamental right for all not only to literacy and numeracy but to be equipped with the skills to understand the complex world we live in and to become conscious, aware and engaged citizens.