Global school ambassadors to lead charge on driving UN Sustainable Development Goals

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Dubai, UAE: GEMS Education announced the establishment of the GEMS Global Ambassadors Society at a virtual investiture event held at the end of June. The Society’s core mission is to spread awareness, take concerted action and provide innovative solutions towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) by 2030. 

The Society is made up of 29 UAE-based GEMS schools, who have twinned with a further 20 schools from countries as diverse and widespread as India, Kuwait, USA, Malawi, Australia, Italy and more. The collaboration with international schools aims to place GEMS as a leader in bringing young minds and talents to work together towards a better future for all. 

The launch event featured prominent speakers including Dr Eesa Mohammed Bastaki, President of University of Dubai; Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA); Jamie Hoyzer, Executive Vice President Finance at Siemens Industrial LLC; and Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education. 

The GEMS Global Ambassadors Society is represented by one teacher and one student from each participating school and was established based on the idea that schools play a pivotal role in addressing the compelling and complex social, economic and environmental global challenges that impact planet earth and its ability to thrive. With schools acting as a key influencer in shaping the values, behaviours, attitudes and leadership skills of tomorrow’s citizens and leaders, they are crucial to helping build a sustainable future. 

The Society’s ambassadors will act as role models who inspire, plan, design and execute relevant projects aimed at attaining the UN SDGs. Focused on the Goal of Education for Sustainable  

Development (ESD), they will seek to promote students’ critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, STEM skills and 21st-century skills to empower student agency and global citizenship, ultimately prioritising sustainability in their lifestyle, behaviour, education and professional career choices. 

Dino Varkey, Group CEO of GEMS Education, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with schools across the globe which share our commitment to supporting the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. As educators, we believe we have the opportunity to help our students prepare for a better and brighter future, and these goals are crucial to realising that vision. I congratulate our student and teacher ambassadors and look forward to seeing what initiatives they will create and lead throughout their tenure.” 

Asha Alexander, Principal of GEMS Legacy School and Executive Leader – Climate Change at GEMS Education, said: “Partnerships are the primary movers that will help us work together to create a peaceful and inclusive society for all, and that is the voluntary commitment that these 29 GEMS schools have made to embed the Sustainable Development Goals. In doing so, they have set in motion the largest movement in this region to help embed the SDGs in the school curriculum.” 

A keynote address during the investiture was delivered by Yumiko Yokozeki, Director of the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa. Yokozeki, who has extensive experience in assisting the development of curricula and capacity buildings for teachers in Ethiopia and various other African countries, touched upon the benefits of the partnership bringing together the private sector, universities and United Nations. She said: “I’d like to commend GEMS Education’s excellent mandate in investing in young people. Young people are the future and the hope, and we are doing the right thing in investing in young people to be better citizens of the world.”