To celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, UNESCO and Plan International France, with the support of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, organized an event at on 11 October at UNESCO Headquarters on girls' education entitled "Learn to lead". The Director-General decided to take this opportunity to entrust the responsibility of representing her to a 17-year-old Guinean girl selected by Plan International, a symbolic way of highlighting UNESCO's commitment to the empowerment of girls.
In this perspective, Audrey Azoulay said: "At UNESCO, we will tirelessly work to unite and coordinate the initiatives of the international community in order to break down the barriers that continue to hinder girls in order to give them their full place in the world".
"The emancipation of girls and the evolution of our societies are through education. Their access to quality education is not only an individual right and the key to unlocking potential, it also has the power to make our world more equitable, more inclusive and more prosperous. Because an educated girl is a force for change, empowering girls to learn and empower themselves is the promise of a better world. It is in this spirit that I asked Kadiatou, a young Guinean woman with a remarkable history, particularly because of her fight against forced marriages, to represent me at UNESCO Headquarters for the event on girls' education," she added.
The evening concluded with the award ceremony of the UNESCO Prize for the Education of Girls' and Women. UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education, Stefania Giannini, and the Vice-Minister of Education of the People's Republic of China, Xuejun Tian, presented the $50,000 Prize to the winners, the Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation and the Misr El-Kheir Foundation of Egypt.
132 million girls are out of school today. UNESCO plays a coordinating role through its ongoing collaboration with Member States, civil society and other partner organizations to promote quality education for all.