Dubai - Arabstoday
Sunny Varkey, founder and chairman of Dubai-based GEMS Education, has been nominated to become a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.
Varkey will be recognised for “his contribution to forging innovative public-private partnerships to ensure that underprivileged children across the world receive a good quality education”, a statement from UNESCO said.
Varkey is the son of Indian expatriates who moved to Dubai in 1959.
His ambitions were shaped by the personal commitments of his parents, who founded their first school in 1968.
Varkey took over the management of the school in 1980 and transformed the family-run institution into a multinational company.
Today, GEMS Education educates more than 100,000 students who represent more than 150 nationalities.
"By uniting parents, educators and governments under the cause of equal opportunity to schooling, Sunny Varkey is not only influencing teaching methods, but also helping to provide greater access to education, especially in Africa," UNESCO added.
An on-going collaboration between UNESCO and GEMS Education is training more than 10,000 school principals in Kenya, Ghana and India, while another programme is helping to improve science, technology, engineer and maths education in Lesotho and Kenya.
GEMS Education operates in the public and private sectors. It also operates through a not-for-profit group, the Varkey GEM Foundation.
Founded in 2010 and chaired by former US President Bill Clinton, it promises to help 100 underprivileged children for every student enrolled at a GEMS school.
UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors spread the ideals of UNESCO through their name and fame. Through their careers and humanitarian commitment they have made an important contribution towards the objectives and aims in UNESCO's four fields of competence, which are education, culture, science and communication/information.