UNRWA Commissioner General Intervention, Transforming Education Summit

19 September 2022
UNRWA Commissioner General Intervention, Transforming Education Summit © Theirworld / Ilya Savenok

New York. 

Last year, I met with Maria, a 15-year-old Palestine refugee living in Ein el Helweh camp in Lebanon.

She shared with enthusiasm her dream to study at Oxford.

Unexpectedly, she broke down in tears.

Maria explained that she had four siblings and only one smart phone in the family with limited access to the internet.

She realized her dream to study at Oxford might just remain a dream without access to digital learning.

For Maria, and for the half a million girls and boys attending UNRWA schools, we – Member States and the private sector- must continue to provide a sense of purpose and hope.  

This is especially true in the absence of a political solution to the conflict.

UNRWA is the only UN agency that runs an entire school system.  

We do so throughout emergencies including conflicts and pandemics.  

Our education contributes to security and stability across the Middle East. 

To make learning more accessible and relevant for every student, we are committed to using modern tools.  

We aim to equip students with the skills they need to join the job markets of tomorrow.  

Our Digital Learning Platform has already become a recognized best practice. 

I remain committed to sharing our expertise with the global education community aiming to reach people on the move. 

It is expertise that the World Bank, UNESCO, the British Council and other experts regularly praise. 

Thank you.

Background Information: 

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, The Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. 

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to  the 1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.