The Education Commission



The International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity was set up to reinvigorate the case for investing in education and to chart a pathway for increased investment in order to develop the potential of all of the world’s young people. It brings together the best research and policy analysis to identify the most effective and accountable ways of mobilizing and deploying resources to help ensure that all children and young people have the opportunity to participate, learn and gain the skills they need for adulthood and work in the 21st century.

The Commission’s work builds upon the vision agreed to by world leaders in 2015 with the UN Sustainable Development Goal for education: To ensure inclusive and equitable quality education by 2030 and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The members of the Commission include current and former heads of state and government, government ministers, five Nobel laureates, and leaders in the fields of education, business, economics, development, health, and security.

Taking Urgent Action

Sufficient leadership and investment in education has not been a priority for governments and leaders. Education’s share in government budgets has been declining in a number of countries despite growing needs. With international assistance to education declining by nearly 10 percent in recent years, the financing gap for basic education is unlikely to be closed without urgent action.

If leaders to not take action now to increase investment and reform global education, more than 124 million young people will continue to be denied access to schools and more than 250 million will not gain the skills they need to lead healthy and successful lives.

Over the last year, the Education Commission has sought to persuade global leaders to take urgent action by bringing together the best evidence on what works in expanding access to quality education and learning for all.


The Commission is co-convened by Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, President Peter Mutharika of Malawi and the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova. The UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, serves as the Chair of the Commission. The Commission comprises the following high-level individuals representing diverse geographical and disciplinary backgrounds:

Anant Agarwal

CEO, edX; Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

José Manuel Barroso

Former President, European Commission

Felipe Calderón

Former President, Mexico

Kristin Clemet

Managing Director, Civita; Former Minister of Education and Research and Former Minister of Labour and Government Administration, Norway

Aliko Dangote

CEO, Dangote Group

Julia Gillard

Chair, Global Partnership for Education; Former Prime Minister, Australia

Baela Raza Jamil

CEO, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA)

Amel Karboul

Secretary-General of MEF (Maghreb Economic Forum); Former Minister of Tourism, Tunisia

Jakaya Kikwete

Former President, Tanzania

Jim Kim

President, World Bank Group

Yuriko Koike

Governor of Tokyo, Former Minister of Defense, Japan

Anthony Lake

Executive Director, UNICEF

Ju-Ho Lee

Professor, KDI School of Public Policy and Management; Former Korean Minister of Education

Jack Ma

Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group

Graça Machel

Founder, Graça Machel Trust

Strive Masiyiwa

Executive Chairman and Founder, Econet

Teopista Birungi Mayanja

Regional Coordinator, Africa Network Campaign for Education For All (ANCEFA); Founder, Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU)

Shakira Mebarak

International Artist; Founder, Fundación Pies Descalzos

Patricio Meller

Professor, University of Chile; President, Fundación Chile

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Chair, GAVI; Former Minister of Finance, Nigeria

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi

Cabinet Member, Minister of State for Tolerance, United Arab Emirates

Kailash Satyarthi

Founder, Bachpan Bachao Andolan

Amartya Sen

Thomas W. Lamont University Professor and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, Harvard University

Theo Sowa

CEO, African Women’s Development Fund

Lawrence Summers

Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus, Harvard University; 71st Secretary of the Treasury for President Clinton; Director of the National Economic Council for President Obama

Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Chief Executive, Save the Children; Former Prime Minister, Denmark


Commission Directors

Justin W. van Fleet, Ph.D.

Director, International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity

Liesbet Steer, Ph.D.

Director, International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity