Bill Clinton: Educating Underserved Girls Is 'Deeply Human Drama' Of This Century (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

03/15/2013 10:02 am ET | Updated Mar 15, 2013
  • Jessica Prois Executive Editor of HuffPost Impact, HuffPost Good News

Updated: Fri., March 15, 2013, 5:48 EST p.m.

Summoning personal experiences and heartfelt sentiments about education, Bill Clinton delivered the keynote address at the inaugural Global Education and Skills Forum Friday in Dubai.

Clinton's speech wound down the second day of the conference, which focuses on public-private partnerships as a means of improving education equity for some 139 million children who miss out on school worldwide. The former president recalled a time when being a "good citizen" meant simply working hard, being informed and voting.

"Today, that is not enough. We have to create a world with more shared prosperity and more shared responsibility," he said.

The founder of Clinton Global Initiative and the Clinton Foundation cited the fact that by 2050, it's projected that 86 percent of children will be living in developing countries.

"There is no way that governments alone or international aid flows alone will be able to provide those children with the quality of education they need to be full participants in society," he said in his address.

He urged these partnerships to ramp up efforts as the primary pathway to educating girls, consequently lifting a country's economic status and lowering birth rates to a sustainable level.

The former president also said empowering girls through education is an issue that has gained impassioned support globally -- and notably by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

Educating underserved girls and women is a "deeply human drama that will play out in 21st century," he said.

As part of an exclusive partnership, Clinton also took questions from HuffPost readers via Twitter, citing examples of education partnerships that have been a success.

Other global leaders including Tony Blair and the Vice President of South Sudan are meeting at the forum March 14-17 to discuss gender inequity and other education issues such as new and disruptive technologies.

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke Thursday at the forum, also urging governments “not to be afraid to experiment. The problem with government is that they become risk averse so I would certainly look at public private partnerships.”

The Global Education and Skills Forum is in partnership with organizations including UNESCO, the UAE Ministry of Education and the Varkey GEMS Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers underserved children for which Clinton is honorary chairman.

Huffington Post Impact is the media partner for the Global Education and Skills Forum and exclusively live streamed Clinton's address. Watch above.

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