High representatives of governments, local authorities, multilateral organisations, the private sector and civil society,
Welcome to Geneva,
Welcome to the global humanitarian capital and centre for education in emergencies.
And thank you for joining us here - and online.
Switzerland is proud to co-host the first ECW High-Level Financing Conference, together with Colombia, Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Switzerland, as you know, is a prosperous country. This was not always the case:
In the 19th century, our country was a land of emigration. Citizens would leave my canton, the State of Ticino, to try their luck in the new world.
What is Switzerland's magic formula … you may be wondering. I can tell you without hesitation: It is education!
Switzerland is what it is today thanks to the central role given to education in government policies since the emergence of modern Switzerland, 175 years ago.
And sometimes it is a single person who makes a difference: like Stefano Franscini.
Franscini was one, out of seven members of the first Government of the Swiss Federal State, back in 1848 – 175 years ago.
Stefano Franscini – a liberal – is considered to be founding father of the public school system in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland.
As a federal counsellor he then was the founding father of the world known Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the ETH.
Franscini had a belief: he was convinced that investment in education ensures freedom.
The freedom to learn fosters the potential of every child. He was a visionary.
He knew that this investment would lay the foundations for Swiss progress and prosperity.
Thanks to his vision, this Thursday some 900’000 girls and boys across Switzerland went to school – in safety – as part of their compulsory education.
On this same Thursday 222 million children affected by crises around the world, were not so lucky.
That figure has tripled in the last five years.
This is unacceptable!
This first ECW High-Level Financing Conference is a unique opportunity for us, to stand up for the right of every child on the planet, to go to school in a safe learning environment.
Switzerland therefore appeals to world leaders to put education at the top of their agenda – especially for the most vulnerable children in emergencies.
As the global humanitarian capital, Geneva has become a global hub for Education in Emergencies, bringing together many actors to take joint action, work more closely and strengthen their commitment.
So here and now, I call on you – governments, foundations, the private sector, philanthropists and civil society – to join forces and pledge our support to Education Cannot Wait.
There is no democracy without education.
We need to be able to count on well-educated future generations.
Every single human being must have the chance to receive an education.
The peace, freedom and prosperity of all nations depend on it.
Thank you for your attention.