At a farewell ceremony held in Paris on the sidelines of UNESCO’s General Conference, in honor of Irina Bokova, outgoing Director-General of UNESCO, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares, was honored and recognized for his role in transitioning Dubai Cares from a young philanthropic organization into a global leader in the international education arena. The recognition also celebrated Al Gurg’s leadership, commitment and strong advocacy for quality education and for introducing innovative solutions to tackle lesser-known obstacles to access quality education in developing countries. Al Gurg is responsible for strategically defining and leading the UAE-based global philanthropic organization for the past eight years as it works towards providing children and young people in developing countries with access to quality education.
Dubai Cares and UNESCO signed a partnership agreement in 2016 to support countries in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. The Dubai Cares/UNESCO partnership aims to effectively support developing countries in setting the appropriate mechanisms to deliver on the 2030 agenda on education. Additionally, the partnership strives to build the capacity of ministry officials, and ensure alignment between national education sector plans and the ambitions of SDG4 for a pilot group of 10 countries. The agreement also aims to improve national data collection and analysis to better monitor progress towards SDG4. This policy-level program complements Dubai Cares’ activities at a community and school level, helping the organization realizes its vision for a holistic approach to development.
During the same year Dubai Cares also signed a partnership agreement with the International Bureau of Education (IBE) of UNESCO, which hosts the Global Centre of Excellence in Curriculum, to strengthen the mechanisms necessary to ensure that Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is not only included in education sector plans, but also adopted across ministries. As such, Dubai Cares partnership with IBE-UNESCO is an essential part of the organization’s overall strategy to support the 2030 agenda on education.
Dubai Cares has been also supporting the Learning Metrics Task Force (LMTF), a platform convened by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, thus contributing to the development of learning metrics for delivering quality education and establishing a defined mechanism to influence the post-2015 education framework.
Speaking on this recognition, Her Excellency Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Chairperson of Dubai Cares said: “The sons and daughters of this great nation have contributed so much to its growth and development across many areas, and this recognition of Tariq Al Gurg by outgoing Director-General of UNESCO is not only a testament to his success and commitment to the humanitarian and philanthropic field, but is also a testament to the UAE’s active and pioneering role in providing international development aid by its government as well as UAE-based humanitarian and philanthropic organizations.”
Irina Bokova outgoing Director-General of UNESCO said: “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits to leaving no one behind. Education stands at the center of this pledge because it is the foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty, creating opportunity and driving inclusive growth. The challenges we face in achieving inclusive and quality education for all remain tremendous, especially in least developed countries and conflict situations," said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. "This is where our partnership with Dubai Cares under the leadership of Tariq Al Gurg, takes on its full significance. We have joined forces for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4 – to identify gaps, to shape the right policies and to improve national monitoring through our Capacity Development for Education Programme (CapED) that operates in ten pilot countries. Dubai Cares has also come to the forefront to bridge the humanitarian to development divide and stands as an exemplary partner in our shared commitment to advance human rights and dignity through education.”
After being honored by UNESCO, Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares said: “I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Irina Bokova, the first woman to lead UNESCO, for this honor. During her two terms as Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Bokova has been a leading advocate for quality education for all and a champion of gender equality, which she has made her personal priority. I am so thrilled and humbled to be recognized by UNESCO – an honor which I consider to be reflective of the tireless efforts, dedication, and success of Dubai Cares in providing quality education in developing countries.
Al Gurg has been a primary driver of success for the UAE-based global philanthropic organization. He has enabled Dubai Cares to contribute to the evidence-base in education, leveraged funding from other foundation partners and international donors, and invested in strategic relationships and programs that support the global education agenda. His focus has been to develop Dubai Cares as a leader in best-practice for program implementation and a global leader in education program design and innovation - one that is grounded in a philosophy of continuous monitoring, evaluation, and rigorous research. More recently, Al Gurg has been a champion of Education in Emergencies globally, highlighting the critical need to provide education to children affected by conflicts, natural disasters and epidemics. He is also behind Dubai Cares’ selection to become a member of the High-Level Steering Group for the global ‘Education Cannot Wait’ fund, where UNESCO also holds a seat.
“Our partnership with UNESCO is unique and enduring, and the two organizations have been working jointly and closely on projects in different parts of the world by helping to build a world where every child is free from inequality and injustice, and immersed in learning and aspiration”, Al Gurg concluded.