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. She has also been honored as a Listee in Marquis Who's Who for her dedication to the field of international affairs and law, and leadership of ECW, as well as in the “Women Leaders 2024 Collector’s Edition" as a woman leader to look up to in 2024. 

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All Statements and Updates

Promises to Keep and ‘Miles to Go Before We Sleep’
Originally published on Modern Diplomacy . We have promises to keep. Promises for a more just, more equal world. Promises to provide inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG4) and Human Rights Conventions. Promises to leave no...
Yasmine Sherif in the field
Director's Corner
World Humanitarian Day Statement by ECW Director Yasmine Sherif
Yasmine in Afghanistan
Director's Corner
Patience is a virtue. However, it is definitely not a virtue in the face of human suffering. As we mark the one-year anniversary of the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan , one must ask: how long can adolescent girls wait to return to secondary school? The Afghan people have suffered poverty...
Young adolescents facing camera on a classroom window
Director's Corner
View original via IPS News Today marks International Youth Day , a global celebration of the transformative power of young people. Introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, the event was inaugurated not only to observe the power of the youth voice, but to serve as a promise...
Director's Corner
Director's Corner
Originally published on the World Education Blog ( Original ). We have come so far as a global human family. While we can and should celebrate the progress being made towards ensuring universal human rights and growing together as a human family, we are also falling behind on our global...
Director's Corner
During a visit to an elementary school in Kabul in October 2021, two months after the Taliban takeover, the pupils stood up one by one in front of Taliban leaders and spoke: “Our classes have resumed, but not for our older sisters. We have been promised that our older sisters...
Director's Corner
Ukraine, the latest armed conflict to have erupted in the world, is yet another stark reminder that schools are not safe in times of conflict and may even be the target of violence. Between 17 February and 3 March 2022 alone, over 20 incidents of attacks against education were reported...
Director's Corner
Conflicts rage around us, climate change triggers armed conflicts and forced displacement, and a global pandemic continues to take lives and keep children out of school. More concerning still – as we learned in the latest Education Under Attack 2022 report – children, teachers and schools are victims of an...
Attacks on Education in Syria
Attacks on schools, teachers and students in places like Cameroon , the Democratic Republic of the Congo , Mali , the State of Palestine , and Ukraine have been going on for decades, with impunity and no accountability. We must immediately address this crisis by ensuring adherence to the Safe...
Modern Diplomacy banner, girl at white board
Article re-posted with permission from Modern Diplomacy. With leaders gathering at this year’s World Economic Forum, it’s time to prioritize the impact investments in education bring to businesses, economies and beyond. As all eyes turn to this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, we call on world leaders and world-leading...
Child's drawing of the Ukraine flag
Education Cannot Wait joins the international community in calling for an immediate end to all attacks against children, teachers and schools following the bombing of a school in Bilohorivka, Luhansk region, Ukraine, in which dozens are feared dead, including amongst those taking shelter there. “I am appalled and outraged by...
Group of girls sitting on their desks attending class
Director's Corner
“I first think about my children. They are why we were forced to leave - because our children are always our first concern.” These are the moving words of Victoria, who fled the brutal war in Ukraine with her two daughters. Her eyes welling up with tears, she recalled their...

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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