High-level Event to Strengthen Protection of Education from Attack

On Friday 19th May, 2017, The Hague institute organized a high-level address and seminar on ‘Law, Education and the SDGs’. As part of the Distinguished Speaker Series, the event welcomed Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder of the Education Above All Foundation and United Nations SDG advocate, to provide the keynote address on the need to strengthen the protection of education during insecurity and armed conflict.

This was followed by a panel discussion with leading advocates, and an expert roundtable discussion involving key policymakers and researchers.

The opening address was attended by Her Majesty Queen Máxima in her capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development.


In her speech, Her Highness highlighted the normative and practical reasons for protecting education from attack, and called for greater accountability for perpetrators and preventive action by the UN Security Council. The panel of leading advocates comprised Her Excellency Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor; Her Excellency Laila Bokhari, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway; Mrs Graça Machel, Founder and President of the Foundation for Community Development and Founder of the Graça Machel Trust; Mr Forest Whitaker, SDG Advocate, Founder and CEO of the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace; and Mr Kevin Watkins, CEO of Save the Children UK. The discussion was facilitated by the international broadcaster, Zeinab Badawi.


The panelists reflected on the importance of education during humanitarian crisis, and the need to close the gaps between humanitarian assistance and post-conflict development in order to prevent future generations from growing up without access to education:

“We must call on those in power to live up to their values and responsibilities, and invest in education that will ensure resilient and flourishing societies.”

The event demonstrated the global leadership of Education Above All Foundation in defending and delivering quality education to the poorest and most marginalized young people around the world. It also furthered the commitment of The Hague Institute to promoting international legal accountability, and the role of education in conflict prevention through policy-relevant research and its convening power.


The event gained significant media attention, including a letter signed by the three UN SDG Advocates attending in The Times (London), an op-ed in Time Magazine and the Gulf Times, as well as coverage in international and Dutch media such as Blauw Bloed.

The Distinguished Speaker Series at The Hague Institute showcases eminent leaders in international affairs and is the centerpiece of the Institute’s high-level convening power and policy engagement.

Further Reading

Active: Distinguished Speaker Series

The Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) showcases eminent practitioners in international affairs and is the centerpiece of the Institute’s high-level engagement with practitioners and academics in the city…


Past Initiative: Education and Peace

In partnership with UNICEF, The Hague Institute is designing learning materials to improve education in four eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo:…