Global Business Coalition for Education

GBC-Education Middle East


Photo By Tyler Zang.

In response to the refugee crisis which has so far affected more than 7.5 million Syrian children, GBC-Education expanded its operations in the Middle East with the hope of responding with urgent education solutions. This new private sector hub is intended to support education in the region by connecting business with international institutions and non-governmental organizations to maximize impact. GBC-Education Middle East members work together to identify challenges in education that the private sector could help to resolve through their ingenuity, networks, core business, and drive to innovate.

Our team facilitates, supports, and amplifies the ongoing work of private sector partners in addressing gaps in the education sector globally. To spearhead the effort to mobilize private sector support, both within the Middle East region and internationally, GBC-Education enlisted former British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher as the Coalition’s Director of Global Strategy.

Immediate Mission

GBC-Education Middle East is currently focused on the challenges of the Syrian refugee crisis. We hope to help all refugee children in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey access a safe place to play and learn. As more displaced Syrians arrive in neighboring countries, the need for a long-term strategy to address the growing number of children will increase. Through our research, policy work, and high-level engagement, our team will draw greater attention, resources, and innovation to address this crisis and create opportunities for children and their families.

Convening Business Leaders for Syrian Refugee Children

GBC-Education is convening business leaders in the Middle East to support a plan to educate more than 1 million Syrian refugee children in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon. In December 2015, GBC-Education organized a high-level roundtable taking place in Dubai to discuss solutions for the Syrian crisis. In May 2016, GBC-Education held a high-level gathering, “Stepping Up in Crises: Finance, Delivery and Innovation in Education,” at the first ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. Featuring remarks from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, this event was attended by 150 representatives from the private sector, C-Suite partners from the Middle East, government, philanthropy and donor agencies, and sought to strategize methods of addressing the challenge of millions of children and young people who are left behind in crisis.

The Coalition will continue to convene high-level events where the private sector can continue to support world leaders in an effort to foster increased collaboration for education in the region.

To learn more about opportunities to collaborate with GBC-Education in this effort, please email us at

Taking Commitment to Action

GBC-Education enlisted more than 50 companies to support the education of 1 million Syrian refugee children. At the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference in February 2016, Coalition members, additional companies and partners committed $75 million to the cause through financing and in-kind support. Their commitments range from contributing core assets like e-learning technology, educational content, and physical space, to financing in the form of scholarships, among other commitments. In advance of the World Humanitarian Summit, Tom Fletcher addressed a letter to the hosts of the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in advance of the World Humanitarian Summit to share an update on commitments made by the private sector since the Supporting Syria and the Region Conference in February, adding up to over $90 million in value to assist in providing quality education for Syrian refugee children.

The private sector support of global education development effort is critical, especially as they often inspire donor governments to take further action. Their commitments exceed traditional corporate social responsibility pledges by demonstrating their unique position of delivering impactful, strategic, and innovative solutions to support humanitarian efforts.

Why the Education of Syrian Refugee Children Matters: