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Gordon Brown
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

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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Graça Machel: The Heroine to Mandela's Hero

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 11:28 AM

The heroine who guided Nelson Mandela through his last years -- the woman that gave him great happiness -- is Graça Machel. In the past seven days, first in Soweto then in Pretoria and finally in Qunu, even while tortured by grief, she stood tall, brave and dignified. In the...

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It Is Time To Do More

(24) Comments | Posted July 12, 2013 | 8:45 AM

Malala Yousafzai, the girl the Taliban shot for going to school and who has become the world's symbol for the right of every girl to have an education, will speak at the United Nations on her sixteenth birthday today.

She will deliver, in front of 500 young campaigners from over...

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Reunited: Shazia Ramzan Joins Her Friend Malala in the UK

(20) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 4:30 PM

Ever-escalating violence against girls in Pakistan is causing the murder count to rise and forcing under-threat teenagers to leave the country, fleeing for safety to the rest of the world.

Today, Shazia Ramzan is free in the United Kingdom after escaping death threats from the Taliban. Shazia was one of...

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Stand With Malala for Education for All

(21) Comments | Posted June 17, 2013 | 9:01 AM

Malala Yousafzai -- the 15-year-old Pakistani girl militants tried to assassinate -- is the first signatory of a new worldwide petition launched today after terrorists, hell-bent on preventing girls being educated, murdered 14 students at an all girls' college in Pakistan.

The full horror of Saturday's terrorist attack on...

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Attacks on Schools Must Stop

(137) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 8:11 AM

A third Pakistani school has been attacked in an escalating wave of violence by Taliban militants determined to stamp out the provision of girls' education.

Two out of the three classrooms of an all-girls school in Zalim Kalan in the Bannu Province were the latest school buildings to be destroyed,...

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Second Murder of a Teacher in One Week

(78) Comments | Posted March 30, 2013 | 4:18 PM

Pakistan is today counting the costs of a week of carnage in which teachers and pupils have been violently attacked simply because they want to go to school. As pupils gathered at the Baldia Town School this morning for an awards ceremony, grenades were hurled into the building and then...

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Malala First to Sign New Petition Calling for Protection of Teachers and Girls Who Want to Go to School

(246) Comments | Posted March 27, 2013 | 5:13 AM

Malala Yousafzai and her father Ziauddin are the first two signatories of the petition to the Pakistani President following the assassination of Shahnaz Nazli yesterday. Shahnaz, a 41-year-old Pakistani woman shot on her way to work at a girls' school in Jamrud, was a courageous teacher who joins a list...

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The Future Is Hers

(83) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 11:39 AM

Unless we act, 531 million of today's girls will never complete a school education, and in the poorest countries only one in 700 will go to university.

Because of two recent tragedies -- the shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai last October, and the rape and murder in December of...

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Girl Rising: A Better Life Begins in School

(38) Comments | Posted January 25, 2013 | 10:00 PM

This is the third in a series of blogs by Gordon Brown written from WEF in Davos, looking at the growing global empowerment of young women. Stay up to date by signing up at

If one thing was made clear by the scale of the recent anti-child slavery...

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Girl Rising: Adult Complacency Is Over

(106) Comments | Posted January 24, 2013 | 11:00 PM

This is the second in a series of blogs by Gordon Brown written from WEF in Davos, looking at the growing global empowerment of young women. Stay up to date by signing up at

When Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban last year for daring...

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Girl Rising: From Demure to Defiant

(147) Comments | Posted January 23, 2013 | 11:00 PM

This is the first in a series of blogs by Gordon Brown written from WEF in Davos, looking at the growing global empowerment of young women. Stay up to date by signing up at

The rights of girls is becoming the hot topic of the 2013, as a...

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India Must Ban Child Labor

(56) Comments | Posted December 21, 2012 | 9:35 AM

Pressure is mounting on the Indian Parliament to end child labour after 150,000 Indians signed an abolition petition demanding an immediate change in the child labour laws.

The petition follows the recent revelation of slave labour conditions under which young children of eight and nine were making Christmas decorations....

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Le fléau du mariage d'enfants

(1) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 8:43 AM

Après l'information tragique cette semaine au sujet de Shiwa Hasmi, 16 ans, originaire du district de Bardiya au Nepal, j'ai demandé à différents gouvernements et aux Nations Unis de renforcer les lois contre le mariage des enfants, et en faveur de l'éducation des jeunes filles. Shiwa est décédée à l'hôpital...

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The Practice of Child Brides

(52) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 11:50 AM

After the tragic news this week of 16-year-old Shiwa Hasmi of Bardiya district in Nepal, I am asking governments and the UN to enforce laws against child marriage and in favour of universal education for girls. Shiwa died in hospital after being set on fire following her refusal to be...

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Inspired by Malala, We Must Make School Accessible to the World's Children

(26) Comments | Posted December 9, 2012 | 6:00 PM

When Malala Yousafzai was targeted and shot by the Taliban in Pakistan on October 9th, simply for wanting to go to school, the whole world of education was changed forever.

Globally, 32 million girls do not yet go to primary school and since October 9th, thousands of children have demonstrated,...

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