This year’s Education Plenary Session concentrated on gender equality and the importance of increasing access to education worldwide. Keynote speaker, the Pakistani Author and Activist, Fatima Bhutto, made an impassioned speech about refugee crisis and the resulting education crisis, meaning that over 2 million Syrian children are out of school.
After the keynote speech, the Counsellors introduced the Delegate Speakers onto the stage. All of the Delegate Speakers fight on a daily basis to increase the access to education that is so important to escaping the poverty cycle and achieving true equality in all senses of the word. First up was Raymond Mungujakissa (Uganda), welcomed by the Oscar winning Producer of Titanic and Avatar, Jon Landau. Raymond spoke about the importance of digital literacy and empowering the women in your community to create real and sustained change. Fatima Bhutto returned to introduce Abeer Dawood Abu Ghaith (Palestine) who received a standing ovation for her use of technology which gives employment and education opportunities to marginalised communities in Palestine. Her online platforms mean that people can work from home and do not have to worry about facing roadblocks, checkpoints and interrogations to bring in an income.
All the Delegate Speakers are fighting for gender equality and access to education in their own countries. Suphachai Chearavanont, the CEO of True Corporation, introduced Saairah Farooq (Pakistan) works to change the perception of women's roles in society, before closing the gender gap. John Simpson, BBC World Affairs Editor, then warmly welcomed Cambodian delegate, Sotheary You, who works tirelessly to defend women's human rights in Cambodia. She has made it her mission to end gender based violence.
Finally, Pussy Riot Member and Activist, Nadya Tolokonnikova, gave a glowing introduction to Lina Khalifeh (Jordan), the founder of SheFighter, the first all female self-defense studio in Jordan. Lina also received a standing ovation for her stirring speech, demanding that 'gender based violence should never be accepted as the norm. Women should not live in fear'.
The Session ended with a standing ovation for the Delegate Speakers and the Counsellors alike, ending the day's Plenary Sessions.
Keep up with Friday's Sessions on the live stream here, starting tomorrow morning at 08:25 ICT.