Heads of State and Business Leaders Participate in Launch of the “Global STEM Alliance” at the United Nations
With a Goal of Reaching 1,000,000 Students in over 100 Countries, an Unprecedented Public-Private Partnership Launches Multi-Million Dollar Investment in STEM Education
Published September 24, 2014
(NEW YORK, NY) On September 22, 2014 at the United Nations, heads of state, leaders of UN agencies, senior executives of major multinational corporations, and major philanthropists announced the launch of the Global STEM Alliance, a collaboration of governments, companies, schools and NGOs devoted to increasing access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for students worldwide.
The Alliance is an initiative of the New York Academy of Sciences, in partnership with over 70 governments, companies, NGOs, universities and schools and with participants and organizations in over 50 countries. The Alliance also announced that it is investing millions of dollars in order to inspire over 1,000,000 children worldwide to become STEM leaders in more than 100 countries by 2020.
The Global STEM Alliance launches with several Founding Partners: ARM, Cisco, the Global Sustainable Development Foundation, and the PepsiCo Foundation, as well as a group of Founding Nations and Regions, including Barcelona, Benin, Bhutan, Croatia, Malaysia, New York State, Rwanda, and the United States.
The launch event, co-hosted by UNESCO and its Director General Irina Bokova and the International Telecommunications Union and its Secretary General, Hamadoun Touré, featured Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, United States Under-Secretary of State Catherine Novelli, and representatives from UNESCO and ITU. Speakers outlined what the Alliance refers to as the "Global STEM Paradox": while there are more STEM graduates than ever before, they aren't in the right places, aren't work ready and don't represent the diversity necessary for global innovation. Meanwhile, there are too few work-ready STEM graduates in emerging nations, where innovation is needed the most.
Members of the Alliance proposed a solution to the STEM paradox: an ecosystem of enlightened government policies, strategic business incentives, and innovative Web-based and one-to-one and one-to-many mentoring approaches that, together, create the necessary incentives for students to seek, acquire, and employ STEM skills.
The failure to engage students with talent leads to the loss of millions of high skill STEM workers in places that desperately need them. To combat that, the Alliance will focus on three strategies: intergenerational mentoring, building foundational skills and building a global network of STEM innovators.
The fulcrum on which the Global STEM Alliance rests is a remarkably successful program taking place in 8 cities around the world (soon expanding to many other countries) that trains postgraduates and young corporate scientists and engineers to act as volunteer mentors and role models. Those mentors provide hands-on science experiences and inspiration to primary school students in underserved neighborhoods.
The first major new initiative of the Global STEM Alliance will be the development and launch of the Junior Academy, a virtual learning and research platform to inspire and prepare gifted STEM students around the world. The platform will include novel talent identification mechanisms, course work and authentic virtual research experiences, access to mentors, and an online writing center-tools that are especially valuable in developing, rural or impoverished urban areas, where qualified STEM instructors can be scarce.
The Alliance also announced 1000 Girls - 1000 Futures, a new commitment with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, representing an investment of $2 million over three years. The effort will increase the number of women in STEM fields through a coordinated, comprehensive program that will lead to new skills, greater engagement and ultimately, the desire to enter the STEM fields.
In an effort to increase work-ready STEM graduates, especially in underrepresented populations like women and rural communities, both the heads of states and corporate executives affirmed their commitment to STEM education as a means to foster economic growth and promote scientific innovation in Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and the world's developing nations.
"It gives me great pleasure to join in launching of the Global STEM Alliance," said Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia. "As we all know, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are at the heart of modern life and provide the foundations for economic prosperity. The purpose of driving STEM education is not only to create economic opportunity for individuals; it's to provide the fuel needed to power a science and technology driven economy. STEM and therefore STEM education - are vital to our future - the future of our country and the future of our children."
"We're so proud to have the support of so many founding governments, corporations and institutions," said Ellis Rubinstein, President & CEO of The New York Academy of Sciences. "Together, we'll create a new global STEM ecosystem and build the next generation of STEM leaders who will confront the biggest challenges of our time-climate change, famine, global epidemics-through cross-generational, transnational collaboration."
For additional statements from Founding Partners, please see below.
"A growing global population and mass urbanization creates many challenges but it also leads to opportunities where new technology can be used to benefit all people," said Simon Segars, CEO, ARM. "It is vitally important for us to capitalize on these long term opportunities and we will only do that if we prepare our children to succeed in STEM subjects and show them the practical applications of a career in a related profession. Through the delivery of universally high-quality STEM teaching, we have a real chance to create a generation that re-embraces engineering and science."
"Cisco is committed to equipping current and future workforces and the educators and mentors who work across the globe with the training needed to overcome critical skills gaps. At the same time, we realize that we can't tackle this huge challenge alone," said Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, VP and General Manager, Learning@Cisco. "That's why we're so excited to be a founding partner of The Global STEM Alliance. Its vision of adapting the STEM ecosystem model to each country or region, in collaboration with government, enterprise and educational institutions, lays the groundwork for overcoming the STEM paradox. These efforts will produce graduates who are current on technology, job-ready, leading to greater innovation and economic growth."
Global Sustainable Development Foundation
"It is our honor to be a founding partner of the Global STEM Alliance," CEO of the Global Sustainable Development Foundation Sheri Yan said. "Our connection with the STEM program will give the Global Sustainable Development Foundation the opportunity to make a genuine contribution to bring more partners worldwide to support GSA and the further development of a stable, progressive and creative international community."
"Today, STEM education is ascending the national agenda. Around the world, government, industry, the non-profit community, and educational institutions recognize the challenge, are rolling up their sleeves, and resolving to tackle it," said Dr. Mehmood Khan, Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of PepsiCo and board member of the New York Academy of Sciences. "PepsiCo Foundation's commitment to STEM is expressed inside and outside our company through a variety of initiatives and programs. That's why we're proud to continue our support as a Global STEM founding partner."
Media contact: Ross Adair, 646-200-5336, Ross.Adair@berlinrosen.com
The New York Academy of Sciences: Inspiring Centuries of Scientific Progress
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With more than 22,000 members in 100 countries around the world, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at www.nyas.org.
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Global Sustainable Development Foundation (GSDF)
The mission of the Global Sustainable Development Foundation (GSDF) is to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and the new Sustainable Development Goals. It will work with UN organizations around the world to support programmes and projects across sectors such as the life sciences, resources/energy, education and financial inclusion.
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