The United Nations crowned China’s First Lady Peng Li Yuan as the new UN Special Envoy for Women and Girls Education.
In a moving speech soon after the announcement, Mrs Li, who is wife to China’s President Li Jinping, delivered what she saw as the Chinese Dream: Women and Girls Education.
It gives me a great pleasure to join you for this important initiative as the UN marks its 70th anniversary.
Education is very close to my heart. My father grew up in a very small village in China. In those days, not many villagers could read. So my father opened a night school to teach them how to read. With his help, many people learned to write their own names; with his help many people learned to read newspapers for the first time; with his help, many women were able to teach their children how to read.
As his daughter, I know what education means to the people, especially those without it. After generations of hard work, China has come a long way in education. I myself am a beneficiary of that progress. Otherwise I would never become a soprano and a professor of musical.
I am following my fatherâ€™s footsteps by teaching at Chinaâ€™s Conservatory of Music to help continue Chinaâ€™s success story. I want to thank Director-General Bokova and UNESCO for naming me the Special Envoy for Women and Girls Education.
I am truly honored to work with the UN and do something about Global Education. I have visited many schools around the world. Iâ€™ve seen first-hand on how much we can do for education.
Education is about women and the girls. It is important for girls to go to school because they will become their childrenâ€™s first teacher someday. But women still account for over half of the worldâ€™s poor in population and 60% of adults who canâ€™t read.
Education is crucial in addressing such inequalities. In China, Spring Bud Education Program has helped over 3 million girls go back to school. Many of them have finished university education and they are doing well at work.
Education is about equality. In poor countries and regions the number of school dropouts is astonishing. We call for more educational resources to these places.
Education is about the young people. Young people are the future. Education is important because it not only gives young people knowledge and skills but also helps them become responsible citizens. As the UNESCO special envoy and a mother myself, my commitment to education for all will never change.
Many years ago my father made a small difference in his village. Together we can make a big difference in the world.
I was once asked about my Chinese dream. I said I hope all children especially girls can have access to good education. This is my Chinese dream. I believe one day education first will no longer be a dream, it will be a reality enjoyed by every young woman on this planet.
Thank you very much.
Meanwhile, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta managed to get giant pharmaceutical companies to set operations in Kenya. Mrs Kenya was the chief guest at theÂ Norvatis Access Initiative, a project which will provide low-cost drugs for 15 non-communicableÂ diseases including cancer and diabetes.
The pharmaceutical firm will roll out the new program in Kenya in conjunction with the Governments of Â Ethiopia and Vietnam before extending the initiative to 27 other countries.