News Release

Brookings Launches Center for Universal Education

July 22, 2009

The Brookings Institution today launched the Center for Universal Education, an initiative that will develop and disseminate effective solutions to the challenge of achieving universal quality education. The center becomes part of the Global Economy and Development program and will conduct research and analysis, convene meetings and host policy forums to enhance policy development and understanding on a range of issues relevant to the achievement of universal quality education for the world’s poorest children. Jacques van der Gaag, senior fellow, and Rebecca Winthrop and David Gartner, fellows, will serve as co-directors of the center.

Van der Gaag has been a distinguished visiting fellow in Global Economy and Development at Brookings since 2006 and researched the economics of poverty, the economic consequences of HIV/AIDS and international health care financing. He was most recently a professor of development economics at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Amsterdam. Winthrop, an expert in the field of education in contexts of armed conflict, most recently has been the head of education for the International Rescue Committee and teaching at Columbia University. She will focus on education in contexts of mass displacement, state fragility, and armed conflict and the role of education in long-term solutions for peace and development. Gartner is an expert on global education, global health and international development who recently has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University. His research will focus on global education and the role of international institutions and foreign assistance in global development.

“We are very pleased to welcome these new scholars and the Center for Universal Education to Brookings,” Brookings President Strobe Talbott said. “The center will strengthen and complement our current efforts to contribute to global education and development.”

Established in 2002, the Center for Universal Education (CUE) was previously part of the Council on Foreign Relations and was directed by Gene Sperling. Sperling left the Council on Foreign Relations earlier this year to become senior counselor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

“Jacques, Rebecca and David’s expertise will help CUE develop and disseminate effective solutions to the challenge of achieving universal quality education,” said Kemal Derviş, vice president and director of Global Economy and Development at Brookings. “The center will continue to be a leading forum for shared learning in the global education policy community and will seek to project its own ideas into broader public debates in ways that will strategically support its core mission.”

The new center will focus on the provision of universal quality education among the world’s poorest countries. Its affiliated scholars will conduct research and produce policy proposals around the core objective that every child should receive a quality basic education. It will also analyze the challenges and opportunities for the sufficient and effective funding of and programming for universal quality education.

About Brookings

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Our mission is to conduct in-depth, nonpartisan research to improve policy and governance at local, national, and global levels.