Press release

Foreign Secretary & Naomi Campbell discuss girls' education

The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, met British fashion icon and philanthropist Naomi Campbell on Thursday 14 June, to discuss the importance of girls’ education.

Foreign Secretary & Naomi Campbell discuss girls' education
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson with Ms Campbell

The Foreign Secretary and Ms Campbell discussed the #LeaveNoGirlBehind campaign, which aims to promote the opportunity for all girls to receive 12 years of quality education by 2030.

Ms Campbell, a Unicef women’s empowerment envoy and girls’ education activist, told the Foreign Secretary about her work to get the world’s poorest girls into school.

The two committed to working together to ensure girls’ education remains on the top of the global political agenda.

Speaking after the meeting the Foreign Secretary said:

Naomi is a force of nature, fizzing with energy and ideas, and it was great to hear her thoughts about how to galvanise the worlds of fashion and entertainment to really put the tragedy of the 131 million girls missing out on a quality education behind us.

Education is a fundamental right for all girls and is manifestly in the global interest. It can help solve a multitude of the world’s problems. The UK is doing its bit but the rest of the world must follow suit.

We can and must challenge the sexism that says this is not a political issue, and we must break down the barriers that hold girls back. As a global community we can end female illiteracy to create a more stable, prosperous world for everyone.

Naomi Campbell said:

I had a great discussion with Boris Johnson at the Foreign Office today to discuss ways to improve education for the world’s most vulnerable girls.

We both have a passionate belief that this is vital for the world to address. It’s great that Britain is leading by example and the Commonwealth is putting so much into this initiative.

I recently organised a Fashion For Relief event for equality that included gender, so this really ties in with my beliefs.

he meeting is part of Mr Johnson’s push to build a global coalition of influencers in business, politics and entertainment to drive through progress on girls’ education and stamp out illiteracy.

In recent weeks, the Foreign Secretary has met former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and has discussed his campaign with girls’ education activist and Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, senior adviser to President Trump, Ivanka Trump and philanthropist Melinda Gates.

Appallingly, 90% of world’s poorest children leave school unable to read and write. Britain is leading by example by providing £400 million through the Department for International Development to enable over 1.5 million vulnerable girls to receive 12 years of quality education by 2030.

The Foreign Secretary wants emerging and world powers to take up the mantle, be more ambitious and end female illiteracy.

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Published 15 June 2018