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An organization founded by an award-winning actress has pledged to help with the education of over 1 million children affected by conflict around the world at this year’s annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Angelina Jolie addressed the conference, attended by participants from a variety of business, academia, entertainment, and environmental organizations, on September 27 in New York. As part of the three day meeting, she told the audience how the members of the Education Partnership For Children Of Conflict have contributed to the education of war-affected children in over 10 different countries since she founded the Partnership in 2006. Along with Partnership co-founder, Gene Sperling, who is also Director of the Centre For Universal Education at the Council for Foreign Relations, Jolie outlined the commitments that they have made for the coming year.

“Education can transform the lives of children in conflict, giving them the tools to create a better future for their families and their nations,” said Jolie to the 1,000 members of the Global Initiative, who were gathered to discuss the challenges and opportunities of education, climate change, global health, and poverty. “This Partnership is putting words into action, and demonstrating that even in the most difficult circumstances, every child can and should have a chance to learn.”

The Education Partnership For Children Of Conflict was founded from a commitment made at the 2006 Clinton Global Initiative, a yearly meeting of world leaders launched by Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation in 2005. Its mission is to help the world move beyond its current state of globalization to a more integrated global community of shared benefits, responsibilities, and values. It provides a catalyst for action by “bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.” Since its inception, and through the commitments made by over 100 world recognised organizations, the Initiative has provided over 3.2 million people with clean energy services in the developing world, provided 1.2 million patients in Sudan, Chad, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo with emergency care, and assisted with providing life-saving services to 857,300 children under the age of 5 in 25 countries.

Jolie and Sperling started the Education Partnership to help fund new education projects for children in conflict, post-conflict, refugee, and emergency situations. During her address at the meeting, she outlined the future for the Partnership, and its goals for the next year. She revealed they have received an investment of $148 million from 19 world organizations in 15 countries to reach their goals, which include:

  • Provide schooling to 350,000 children in conflict affected areas around the globe.
  • Improve the learning environment, safety, materials, and teacher quality of a further 690,000 children.
  • Assist 200,000 Iraqi refugee children.
  • Assist 300,000 youths affected by the conflict in Darfur.

“These are children who need a safe place to learn; a place to heal; a place to learn reconciliation and a place to just be children,” said Jolie. “All they have left is their minds. We don’t want them to grow up and feel they have nothing to live for.”

The three day meetings follow another high profile meeting held in New York earlier in the week, in which two heavy weights in the fight to stop climate change addressed the United Nations.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Vice President Al Gore took part in the 8 hour discussion on September 24, which hoped to spur global negotiations on climate change.

“The time has come to stop looking back at the Kyoto Protocol,” said Schwarzenegger. “The consequences of global climate change are so pressing it doesn’t matter who was responsible for the past. What matters is who is answerable for the future. And that means all of us.”

The gathering, which included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, sent a strong political message about the urgency of lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

“The time to act is now,” said Al Gore at the conclusion of the meeting.

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