“It may be a small step, but will contribute to an important change in changing the lives of millions,” was how former US President Bill Clinton referred the launch of the Varkey GEMS Foundation in Dubai on Sunday.
Speaking at the Dubai American Academy just two days after he was at the White House endorsing President Obama's tax deal with Republicans, Clinton said, “This is a moment of commitment. If all of us can ensure that our children are educated, there will be fewer wars, less killing and more peace.”
Varkey GEMS Foundation says it will utilise the resources of about 100,000 students and their family along with thousands of other staff members who are part of the GEMS Education to provide education to more than 100 million underprivileged children from across the world.
The Foundation’s CEO Vikas Pota says the goal will be achieved through providing scholarships, teacher training, professional development and mentoring for school leaders and by providing policy inputs.
Gems Education Chairman Sunny Varkey said Dubai’s own initiatives and Sheikh Mohammed’s philanthropic activities had immensely inspired him to move forward along similar lines. Gems Education has been working in partnership with Dubai Cares and other similar initiatives including the Clinton Global Initiative, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and India’s Pratham.
As Clinton noted, “the explosion of non governmental institutions and private citizens who have joined hands with the government to contribute to public good is the most important development of the 21 century.
From just 50 sites on the internet when he became the president, the world of knowledge he says has immensely grown and, “It is painful to see how so many do not have access to these. I urge all of you to support the Foundation,” he added, just days after he made a surprise press briefing at the White House urging Democrats to support Obama's proposal to temporarily extend all the George W. Bush tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest Americans.
Earlier during the day he was at the Mena Diabetes Leadership Forum where he said that Diabetes was costing his country up to $160 billion dollars annually and might affect one-third of Americans during the next forty years.
UAE is placed second when compared to per capita rate of diabetes and other GCC countries Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman are among the top 10 states with the highest levels of diabetes.