ECW Global Champions

Children outside their school
Meet Education Cannot Wait’s Global Champions – joining the Fund in its mission to ensure children affected by armed conflict, climate-induced disasters and forced displacement can access the safety, hope and opportunity that only a quality education can provide!
Christina Lamb

Christina Lamb is Chief Foreign Correspondent at The Sunday Times and one of Britain’s leading foreign journalists as well as a bestselling author. She has been awarded Foreign Correspondent of the Year six times as well as Europe’s top war reporting prize, the Prix Bayeux, and was recently given the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the British Society of Editors and the Outstanding Impact Award by Amnesty International.

She is the best-selling author of ten books including Farewell Kabul, The Africa House, and The Sewing Circles of Herat and co-wrote the international bestseller I am Malala with Malala Yousafzai and The Girl from Aleppo with Nujeen Mustafa. Her book Our Bodies, Their Battlefields about sexual violence in conflict won the first Pilecki Institute award for war reporting and was shortlisted for Britain's top non-fiction award, the Baillie Gifford Prize, as well as the Orwell Prize, the Kapuscinski Prize and the New York Public Library Bernstein award.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an Honorary Fellow of University College Oxford, an International Board member of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, an Associate of the Imperial War Museum, and was made an OBE by the Queen in 2013. Her most recent book The Prince Rupert Hotel for the Homeless is her first on her own country. 

Christina was a key-note moderator and participant during Education Cannot Wait’s “Spotlight on Afghanistan” session at this year’s High-Level Financing Conference in Geneva

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Folly Bah Thibault

An acclaimed international journalist, Folly Bah Thibault is currently the lead presenter for Al Jazeera. Through her work for Al Jazeera, France24, Radio France International and Voice of America, Thibault has become one of the most recognized and respected journalists in the world. Her coverage of some of the world’s most pressing events as a journalist for Al Jazeera is shedding light on forgotten crises across the globe. The New African Magazine has named Thibault as one of the ‘Most Influential Africans’ working today.

With more than 20 years of experience as a journalist, Thibault has covered some of the world’s most important news stories, including the Arab Spring and marquee specials for Al Jazeera on the United Nations. She has interviewed heads of state, Nobel Prize winners, artists and influencers the world over.

As well as being a world-renowned journalist, Thibault is a leading advocate for education. In 2019, she launched her foundation – Elle Ira à l’Ecole – which helps young girls in Guinea get an education.

Thibault was the Master of Ceremonies at the ECW High-Level Financing Conference in February 2023, where world leaders came together to announce a ground-breaking US$826 million in support of the Fund.

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“ECW represents the UN at its best and I’m honored
to be a part of this movement. Education is a game
changer. It lifts up lives, transforms economies and
societies, and provides renewed hope or an entire
generation of children whose futures have
been disrupted by crises.”

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Somaya Faruqi

Somaya Faruqi is the former Captain of the Afghan Girls’ Robotic Team – nicknamed the ‘Afghan Dreamers’. Faruqi made international headlines when she and her team built a ventilator from used car parts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan. 

Faruqi was born in Herat, Afghanistan in 2002. She cultivated her love of engineering in her father’s mechanic shop. Her high\ school career and leadership of the ‘Afghan Dreamers’ was cut short by the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. She and the rest of her teammates had to flee the country in August 2021.

Currently an engineering student, Faruqi has received several awards over her young career, including being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia in 2021, BBC’s 100 Women in 2020, and the 2017 Silver Medal for Courageous Achievement at the FIRST Global Challenge – in recognition of science and technology in the US.

Somaya Faruqi is a fierce advocate for girls’ education – particularly for those being denied this fundamental right in Afghanistan today – and girls in STEM.

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“As an ECW Global Champion, I feel a deep sense
of responsibility to shine a light on the harsh reality
faced by 222 million children worldwide – they are
being denied the basic human right to education."

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