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Madonna, Earth Institute, Ericsson & Millennium Promise Launch Global Initiative to Support Education Throughout the Developing World

April 6, 2010

LILONGWE, Malawi, April 6 /PRNewswire/ — Madonna today joined the Earth Institute, Ericsson and Millennium Promise to announce a new global education initiative aimed at supporting access to primary and secondary education for every child in the world, with an emphasis on girls’ secondary schooling. The initiative–Connect To Learn–will provide secondary school scholarships, with a special focus on girls, and implement information and communications technology (“ICT”) in schools, enhancing the overall quality and availability of the education.

This powerful partnership is designed to address the current global crisis in education, and encourage others to answer the urgent call, which requires action by individuals, corporations, non-profits and governments around the world. More than 70 million girls and boys are not enrolled in primary school. Hundreds of millions are unable to attend secondary school, even when they pass the qualifying exams. Far more than half of those are girls, who face many unique challenges to accessing school. In addition, the quality of education, even for those with access, is often lacking.

Commented Madonna, “It’s time for a change. There are millions of kids around the world not in school so we’re inviting everyone to join us in hooking kids up with access to a basic education through scholarships, and the opportunities that come with access to technology and the world’s information.”

The Connect To Learn initiative aims to increase awareness and raise funds through online giving, corporate partnerships and foundation investments. These funds will provide secondary school scholarships and will also expand a program of school-to-school partnerships, connecting students through the Internet with counterparts in classrooms around the world. In the coming months the initiative will be building partnerships and gearing up for maximum global impact.

“We are embarking on this initiative because there is nothing more important than assuring that today’s young people have the education and skills to be productive global citizens in the 21st century,” said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Columbia University, President of Millennium Promise, and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“We live in an Information Age, and education is the key to prosperity, health, and even survival. Too many children are forced out of school at an early age, because of lack of financial means or the lack of adequate facilities to learn at the school. This is especially true of young girls, who continue to face special barriers in many societies to continuing their education. Today we have the means to ensure that every young person is able to thrive at school and to connect to the world of knowledge through the Internet, thereby creating a worldwide community of knowledge and mutual understanding in our interconnected age,” said Sachs.

“Connect To Learn is committed to ensure that all young people — boys and girls — can complete a secondary education, knowing that this is the path to ending poverty, ensuring prosperity, and creating a more peaceful and sustainable planet.”

Commented Hans Vestberg, President & CEO of Ericsson, “Broadband is now vital everywhere in the world, and can enable a high quality 21st century education, even at the primary and secondary level. Students all over the world have the possibility to share ideas and learn from each other. It’s time for the classroom to go global and go mobile, since mobile networks have started to surpass fixed in many parts of the world- in discussion, social networking, and curriculum design and implementation – With the latest communication technology and our global scale, Ericsson is uniquely suited to shaping this new world for future generations.”

“The global education challenge needs a partnership strategy that draws on the best insights of business, government, technology, academia, and community leadership. A special emphasis on the unique benefits and needs of girls’ education can promote society-wide breakthroughs in health, gender equality, and economic development around the developing world,” said John McArthur, CEO of Millennium Promise.

Initial scholarship disbursement for secondary students and ICT implementation for schools through the Connect To Learn initiative will leverage the infrastructure of the Millennium Villages, which reach half a million people across 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, to ensure successful start-up of the global education initiative’s programmatic efforts. After the initial launch in Africa, the alliance will work to support education and scholarship campaigns in other developing countries and to establish partnerships in support of the cause globally.

Ericsson is also providing the mobile platform via its eStore solution, which extends the awareness of the campaign to all Internet enabled mobile users globally.

To donate or learn more, please visit the campaign web site at www.connecttolearn.org.

About the Earth Institute

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world’s leading academic center confronting the practical challenges of sustainable development. Our core activities include educating and training the next generation of global leaders, advancing scientific research, and implementing practical solutions to create a more sustainable world. For more information, visit www.earth.columbia.edu.

About Ericsson

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Ericsson is the leader in 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, and provides support for networks with over 2 billion subscribers and has the leading position in managed services. The company’s portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and the media industry. The Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson joint ventures provide consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices. Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the “prime driver in an all-communicating world” through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 80,000 employees generated revenue of SEK 206.5 billion (USD 27.1 billion) in 2009. Founded in 1876 with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on OMX NASDAQ, Stockholm and NASDAQ New York. www.ericsson.com

About Millennium Promise

The mission of Millennium Promise is to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals-eight globally endorsed objectives addressing the multiple dimensions of extreme poverty-in Africa by 2015. To that end, Millennium Promise uses a holistic approach to work with impoverished communities, national and local governments and partner organizations to implement high-impact programs aimed at stopping the cycle of poverty. Our work is premised on the belief that, for the first time in history, our generation has the opportunity to end extreme poverty, hunger and preventable disease. For more information, visit www.millenniumpromise.org.


    MEDIA CONTACTS:
    Ericsson Public and Media Relations       Connect To Learn:
    +46.10.7196992,                           Erin Trowbridge
    media.relations@ericsson.com              +1.212 8549485
                                              trowbridge@ei.columbia.edu

    Johannesburg:  Mwambu Wanendeya

    For Madonna: Liz Rosenberg: +1.212 9914290 liz@lizrosenbergmedia.com

SOURCE Connect To Learn


Source: newswire



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