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Julia Gillard
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Born in a small Welsh coal mining town, Julia Gillard is the youngest of two children. Her father was a police officer who had to give up his pursuit of higher education because he could not afford it. Her parents emigrated to Australia when she was four “to make sure my sister and I got a better life and a better education,” says Gillard. “That’s why education, compared with any other opportunity which may or may not have come my way, really fits centrally with what I’ve believed in and what I’ve wanted to do.”

Julia Gillard was Prime Minister of Australia between 2010 and 2013 and was central to the successful management of Australia’s economy, the 12th biggest economy in the world, during the global financial crisis and as Australia positioned itself to seize the benefits of Asia’s rise.

Ms. Gillard, the first woman Prime Minister of Australia, delivered nation-changing policies including reforming Australia's education at every level from early childhood to university education, creating an emissions trading scheme, improving the provision and sustainability of health care, aged care and dental care, commencing the nation’s first-ever national scheme to care for people with disabilities and restructuring the telecommunications sector as well as building a national broadband network. In foreign policy, Ms Gillard strengthened Australia’s alliance with the United States, secured a stronger architecture for the relationship with China, upgraded Australia’s ties with India and deepened ties with Japan, Indonesia and South Korea.

Ms. Gillard retired from political life following the 2013 Australian national election.

Following her passion for education, in February 2014 she became the board chair of the Global Partnership for Education, the only multilateral partnership that unites donor countries, developing countries, civil society organizations, teacher groups and the private sector to improve global access to education and improve its quality.

“All my life I have been driven by my strong belief that every child should have access to a high quality education. Education changes lives. I know that it changed mine. No child should be denied the transformative power of a great education,” Gillard said when appointed.

She also serves as a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington and its Centre for Universal Education and as a Honorary Professor at the University of Adelaide.

Entries by Julia Gillard

Good Education Helps Girls Grow Into Strong Women

(4) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 3:52 PM

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Across the globe, about 58 million children of primary school age are not in school. Of those, about 31 million are girls.

Over the last decade, there has been a substantial improvement in getting more children in school, and many nations...

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Malala's Ultimate Prize

(1) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 9:57 AM

Credit-Tanya Malott Malala Fund

(Photo Credit: Tanya Malott/Malala Fund)

I was impressed that Malala Yousafzai decided to stay in school last Friday -- the day that she and Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Rather than rushing out of...

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Counting on Girls

(3) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 10:25 AM

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In the midst of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, it is encouraging to reflect on one of the most important development priorities to emerge in the past 15 years -- girls' education.

It is now well recognized...

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Learning Champions Stand Up for International Literacy Day

(1) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 2:39 PM

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I have always cherished the joy of reading. As a child, I yearned for the weekly family trip to our local public library, where I would return with five or six books to devour within the week. Hot summer afternoons spent sitting at...

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World Humanitarian Day -- Education Cannot Wait for Better Times

(1) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 3:19 PM

We must keep children in school, especially during crisis and conflict

Whenever I read stories and see graphic images illustrating the heartbreaking human tragedy that results from violent civil and cross-border conflict, collapsing governments and political instability, my first thoughts invariably go to the innocent children caught up in the...

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How -- And Why -- The International Community Is Rallying to Educate More of the World's Children

(3) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 1:36 PM

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On June 26, 2014, leaders of the international community gathered in Brussels to make a clear and convincing statement that we must redouble our efforts to bring quality education to children in poor countries.

That was the day when the

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What Have You Achieved #BecauseOfSchool?

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 12:12 PM

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I was born in Barry, a seaside town in Wales. Both my mother and my father worked there as police officers. My father came from a coal mining village and was one of seven children. That hard start in life meant he wasn't...

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250 Million Reasons to Invest in Global Education

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 1:40 PM

Credit: World Bank/Ami Vitale

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are the promises the global community made to the poorest in the world. One of those promises was to the world's children. We said that by the end of 2015, every child...

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