Executive Director's Corner

Yasmine Sherif speaking with a kid from Lebanon
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ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif

Yasmine Sherif is the Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait (ECW). A lawyer specialized in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law (LL.M), she has over 30 years of experience with the United Nations and international NGOs. 

Ms. Sherif has served in some of the most crisis-affected areas of the world, including Afghanistan, the Middle East, the Balkans, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan as well as in New York and Geneva. She has led high-level missions to numerous conflict and crisis-affected countries. Her expertise spans across the education, humanitarian, development, human rights, gender and peacekeeping spectrum.

She is the author of the book, The Case for Humanity: An Extraordinary Session, and a Champion for ‘No Lost Generation.’ In 2017, she received the annual award Sweden’s UN Friend of the Year, in 2020 she was awarded the Global Educator Award in the United States, and in 2022 she received on behalf of Education Cannot Wait, the prestigious Mother Teresa Award.

Ms. Sherif also received an award from the United Nations Association-USA Brooklyn Chapter in 2023, and was recently honored as a Listee in Marquis Who's Who for her dedication to the field of international affairs and law, and leadership of ECW. 

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All Statements and Updates

Palestinian child in the street amidst the wreckage of homes destroyed by airstrikes in the Gaza Strip
United Nations Day Statement by Education Cannot Wait Executive Director Today, as we commemorate United Nations Day, more than 224 million children and adolescents are in need of quality education, and the hope, protection and opportunity it provides. Their numbers are increasing by the day. From Afghanistan and Sudan to...
Group of girls in Niger look out a window and smile.
ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif Statement on International Day of the Girl Child 11 October 2023, New York – Girls are the future. They are agents of positive change and potential in a world torn apart by conflicts and chaos. On this International Day of the Girl Child , Education...
Group of children hold hula hoops to the sky.
Education Cannot Wait Executive Director Yasmine Sherif Statement on World Mental Health Day 10 October 2023, New York – Millions of school-aged children, adolescents and their teachers in countries of brutal conflicts, devastating climate disasters and refuge are calling out for our action today. Their mental health cannot wait. They...
Teacher in Bangladesh works with a student on reading.
Education Cannot Wait Executive Director Statement on World Teachers’ Day 5 October 2023, New York – We are in a race to deliver on our global promise of Education for All by 2030 – especially for the 224 million girls and boys impacted by armed conflict, climate change, forced displacement...
An African girl holding a sign "Who will make peace with"
Education Cannot Wait Executive Director Yasmine Sherif Statement on the International Day of Peace 21 September 2023, New York – The International Day of Peace provides a clarion call to us all to redouble efforts to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, and place education at the center of our...
Annual results report
Director's Corner
“My dream is to become a teacher,” says 13-year-old Alia. A small glimmer of hope can be traced in her beautiful, almond-shaped, brown eyes. Together with her mother, siblings and aunt, Alia has fled the conflict in Sudan to Chad. With extraordinary courage to survive, she made the harrowing journey...
AfghanGirlsVoices illustration
ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif Statement on the Second Anniversary of the Ban on Secondary School Girls Education in Afghanistan Today, we mark the second anniversary of the ban on secondary school girls’ education in Afghanistan and join the world in calling for it to be lifted now. Denying education...
Students in a classroom in Nigeria hold up an umbrella.
ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif Statement on the International Day to Protect Education from Attack 9 September 2023, New York – No child or adolescent, nor teacher, should have to live in fear for their lives by going to school. It is an absurd thought. Yet, it is more than...
This article originally appeared in the UN Chronicle . Education is a liberating force for every child and a building block for a better world. It is the foundation for every young person’s future, as well as the foundation upon which peaceful and prosperous societies are built. As the world...
World Humanitarian Day
World Humanitarian Day Statement by ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif Twenty years ago today, a terrorist attack on the United Nations compound in Baghdad took the lives of 22 humanitarian and development workers, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. With solemn hearts...
ECW Executive Director and youth take the stage at HLFC
International Youth Day Statement by ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif To save our people and our planet from the life-threatening risks of the climate crisis, we must invest in the education of today’s youth. They will be the climate activists, climate scientists, climate innovators, game-changers and leaders of the 21...
ECW Executive Director Yasmine Sherif with refugee children in Borota, Chad
Director's Corner
One of my favorite proverbs is Japanese, which states: “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” Never has this proverb felt more important than in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 - especially the foundational goal, SDG4: ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for...

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Resolutions are just tiny steps. To make them a reality requires Action. Until it becomes action on the ground, those words mean very little. Not until you help that child to access a safe, quality education have you actually achieved the result.

Yasmine Sherif, ECW Executive Director