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Gordon Brown
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Born in Scotland in 1951, Gordon Brown is the second of three sons. He grew up in the town of Kirkcaldy, an industrial centre famed for its linoleum and mining industries, during a time of rising unemployment and desperate poverty.

Gordon Brown’s parents, John and Elizabeth, were influential figures in his life. His father was a Minister of the Church and played a central part in town life. Mr Brown remembers his father more for his interest in helping people than for his theological zeal. He often helped those in desperate circumstances who saw the minister’s house as their only refuge for help.

Mr Brown recalls his father quoting the words of Martin Luther King: “everyone can be great because everyone can serve”. He has described his parents as “my inspiration, and the reason I am in politics”.

Like many other boys in Scotland, football was Mr Brown’s passion. A keen Raith Rovers supporter from childhood, he earned pocket money by selling programmes for the team. He also produced a newspaper with his brothers, which they sold for charity.

Mr Brown married his wife Sarah at their home in North Queensferry on 3 August 2000. They have two sons, John and Fraser.

Mrs Brown is the president of the children’s charity PiggyBankKids, which supports the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory, a project set up in memory of their daughter.
Education and early career

Mr Brown did well at school from an early age. At the age of ten, he joined Kirkcaldy High School, where he excelled at sport and joined in every aspect of school life, quickly becoming popular, and taking an early interest in local political campaigns.

He took his exams a year ahead of his contemporaries - his ‘O’ Levels at 14, his Highers at 15. When he came top of a bursary competition, he went on to university at age 15 - one of the youngest students to go to Edinburgh University since the war.

Mr Brown enjoyed student politics and the debates in the student newspaper, which he edited in a prize-winning year. He also continued with his passion for sport.

Just before he went to university, Mr Brown injured his eye playing for his school team at rugby which eventually resulted in detached retinas in both eyes. He spent much of his early years at university in hospital or recuperating.

Having gained a First Class honours degree and a number of prizes for his studies, Mr Brown became the youngest ever Rector of Edinburgh University in 1972.

In his working life, Mr Brown spent time as a university and college lecturer and also wrote a number of books. His book on James Maxton is about the early Labour MPs and their struggles. ‘Values, Visions and Voices’ is a study of the idealism and zeal of Labour’s early thinkers. And ‘The Real Divide’, written with Robin Cook, is a study of poverty and inequality. More recently, a collection of his speeches has been published as ‘Moving Britain Forward’.

After unsuccessfully fighting Michael Ancram for the Conservative seat of Edinburgh South in 1979, Mr Brown became MP for Dunfermline East in 1983 with a majority of 11,000.
Into Parliament

In 1983, as MP for Dunfermline East and Chair of the Labour Party’s Scottish Council, Mr Brown shared his first office in the House of Commons with Tony Blair and the two became friends.

Mr Brown’s maiden speech was on the growing problem of unemployment, of which he said:

“The chance of a labourer getting a job in my constituency is 150 to 1 against. There is only one vacancy in my local career office for nearly 500 teenagers who have recently left school.”

Identified early on by Neil Kinnock as a rising talent, Mr Brown became Shadow Spokesman for Trade and Industry, working with John Smith, and the two formed a close working relationship. When John Smith became leader, he appointed Gordon Brown to be Shadow Chancellor.

After John Smith’s sudden death, Mr Brown continued to be Shadow Chancellor and backed Tony Blair for the leadership of the Labour Party. Working together they won a landslide majority in 1997.
Chancellor of the Exchequer

As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown presided over the longest ever period of growth. He also made the Bank of England independent and delivered an agreement at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005 to support the world’s poorest countries and tackle climate change.

Mr Brown sums his own beliefs up as:

“Every child should have the best start in life, that everybody should have the chance of a job, that nobody should be brought up suffering in poverty. I would call them the beliefs that you associate with civilisation and dignity.”

Entries by Gordon Brown

Schools Should Be Safe Havens and Places of Learning Not Theaters of War

(8) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 4:34 PM

Today marks the 80th day of captivity for the more than 200 Chibok girls who have been kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram and held in captivity in remote forests of northern Nigeria.

For nearly 11 weeks, the girls' families have been living through every parent's...

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Let's Work Together to Get Every Child in School by the End of 2015

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 4:02 PM

Iraqi girls are facing a law that would consider them ready for marriage at nine years old, which could force them out of education for good.

South Sudanese girls are so discriminated against that, in a country of ten million people, there are only 400 14- and 15-year-old...

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My Scotland, Our Britain, a Future Worth Sharing

(22) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 1:52 PM

Although we share the same language, religion, history and traditions and have no border disputes or evidence of discrimination, many Scots will vote on September 18th to secede from the United Kingdom.

Could this historic nation of just five million people on the northern periphery of Europe make history yet...

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This Campaign Works Toward #SafeSchools for All Children

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2014 | 11:50 AM

For the 200 adolescent Nigerian girls abducted by terrorists from their school dormitories, two months of captivity will seem like an eternity.

Since that first haunting photograph of girls flanked by gunmen, information has been sparse. It is thought that they have been split into small groups, and the rescuers...

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50 jours en captivité

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 10:19 AM

Pour une adolescente, 50 jours semblent sûrement une éternité. Ce sont justement 50 jours qui viennent de s'écouler depuis que plus de 200 jeunes filles ont été kidnappées dans leur école de Chibok par l'organisation Boko Haram, et elles sont toujours captives.

Une nouvelle vidéo a été rendue...

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50 Days in Captivity

(1) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 12:24 PM

To a teenage girl, 50 days can seem like a lifetime. 50 days have gone by since over 200 schoolgirls, kidnapped from their school in Chibok by Boko Haram, were taken and remain in captivity.

A new video has been released by their captors and we cannot allow international focus...

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50 giorni di prigionia

(1) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 10:52 AM

Per una ragazza appena adolescente, cinquanta giorni possono sembrare una vita. E ormai sono trascorsi cinquanta giorni da quando più di duecento ragazze sono state rapite da Boko Haram nella scuola che frequentavano a Chibok, e da allora sono tenute prigioniere. I rapitori hanno diffuso un nuovo video...

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Une lueur d'espoir pour la Journée des enfants

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 4:49 PM

Six semaines après que 280 fillettes nigérianes eurent été enlevées dans leur école à Chibok, dans l'État de Borno, il y a enfin une lueur d'espoir. La nouvelle que les jeunes filles ont été localisées, provenant du chef de l'armée de l'Air nigériane, est le premier signe optimiste...

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Une lueur d'espoir pour la Journée des enfants

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 10:52 AM

Six semaines après que 280 fillettes nigérianes eurent été enlevées dans leur école à Chibok, dans l'État de Borno, il y a enfin une lueur d'espoir. La nouvelle que les jeunes filles ont été localisées, provenant du chef de l'armée de l'Air nigériane, est le premier signe optimiste pour les...

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Update from Nigeria: Launching the Safe Schools Initiative

(2) Comments | Posted May 27, 2014 | 10:45 AM

Six weeks on since 280 Nigerian girls were abducted from their Chibok school in the Borno state, there is, at last, a glimmer of hope.

The news from the head of the Nigerian air force that the girls have been located is the first ray of optimism for anxious families,...

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A Glimmer of Hope on Children's Day

(1) Comments | Posted May 26, 2014 | 7:00 PM

Six weeks on since 280 Nigerian girls were abducted from their Chibok school in Borno state, there is at last a glimmer of hope. The news, from the head of the Nigerian Air force, that the girls have been located is the first ray of optimism for anxious...

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Schools Are Not Weapons of War -- in Nigeria or Elsewhere

(7) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 2:55 PM

It is now urgent that leaders of all faiths speak with one voice against the perversion and distortion of Islam by Boko Haram terrorists. Their recently issued video, which talks of the forced conversions of the 280 abducted Nigerian school children, follows their warning last weekend that their religion justified...

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EUA e Reino Unido devem colaborar na libertação das meninas sequestradas na Nigéria

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 11:22 AM

Com o sequestro de mais oito meninas da aldeia de Warabe, no nordeste da Nigéria, a crise dos raptos no país adquiriu um novo rumo, para pior. Não apenas o Boko Haram agora disse ao mundo que as primeiras 270 meninas sequestradas deverão ser vendidas como escravas, como, ao intensificar...

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U.S. and U.K. Should Provide Satellite and Surveillance Technology to Free Boko Haram's Kidnapped Girls

(24) Comments | Posted May 6, 2014 | 4:49 PM

With the kidnap of eight more girls from the northeast Nigerian village of Warabe, the abduction crisis in Nigeria has taken a new turn for the worst. Not only has Boko Haram now told the world that the first 270 girls kidnapped are to be sold as sex slaves, but...

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Nigeria's Boko Haram Targets Children Just Because They Go to School

(4) Comments | Posted April 24, 2014 | 7:22 PM

LONDON -- The world must wake up to an escalating tragedy now engulfing Nigeria. Today the lives of 230 teenage schoolgirls hang in the balance.

It has now been a week since the pupils were abducted en masse from their Chibok school in the remote northern state of Borno as...

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Syria's Children Are Our Children

(2) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 12:07 PM

LONDON -- Three years into a war that has now displaced more than six million people, killed 130,000, injured 500,000 and created two million refugees, the United Nations and humanitarian organizations are fighting an uphill struggle to arouse the conscience of the world. The Syrian people also have a new...

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A Senseless Massacre of Innocents in Nigeria

(23) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 10:00 AM

When courageous Malala Yousafzai was shot, 5 million men, women and children signed petitions calling for every girl in Pakistan to have the chance to go school.

But this week the world remained silent when 40 schoolchildren were shot and then burnt to death in a school in north east...

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Help! An Urgent Plea For Syrian Refugee Children In Lebanon

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 1:13 PM

BEIRUT -- In the village of Akroum, in the northeast corner of Lebanon close to the Syrian border, a unique experiment is taking hundreds of Syrian refugee children off the streets and into school.

Akroum's local village school has teamed up with exiled and unpaid Syrian teachers to offer,...

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Out Of School: Globalization's Children Are Being Abandoned

(2) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 2:50 PM

Gordon Brown, the former prime minister of Great Britain, is the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

LONDON -- The seeds are being sown for waves of social unrest more threatening to authority than the Arab Spring and more widespread than the Occupy movement.

If world leaders thought that they...

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Aitzaz's Sacrifice Should Not Be in Vain

(24) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 1:42 PM

True courage has many faces. It demands not just sheer willpower and strength but an utter belief in cause and total disregard for self.

Aitzaz Hasan has redefined the word courage. He was not a soldier going into battle, or a visionary leader prepared to die for his convictions...

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