Carol Bellamy


Carol Bellamy currently devotes her time on global education and protecting the rights of women and children around the world. She serves as the Chair of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), and previously served in the same role for the International Baccalaureate and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Network on Child Protection, as well as a member of the Board of ECPAT International, a global network of organizations working together for the elimination of child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purpose.

Carol recently completed her three year term as the Chair of the Global Partnership for Education Board of Directors. During that period Ms Bellamy oversaw a significant transformation of the Global Partnership, including the establishment of a representative Board of Directors, a highly successsful rebranding and replenishment campaign, the development of a long-term strategic plan for the Partnership and the appointment of the Partnership’s first ever Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to this, Ms. Bellamy served as President and CEO of World Learning, a private, non-profit organization promoting international understanding through education and development in over 70 countries. Bellamy previously served 10 years as Executive Director of UNICEF, the children’s agency of the United Nations. She was also the first former volunteer to become Director of Peace Corps. Currently, she serves as Chair of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Board of Governors.

Ms. Bellamy has worked in the private sector at Bear, Stearns & Co., Morgan Stanley, and Cravath, Swaine & Moore. She spent 13 years as an elected public official, including five years in the New York State Senate. In 1978, she became the first woman to be elected to citywide office in New York City when she was elected President of the NYC Council, a position she held until 1985. Bellamy was named one of Forbes magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in the World in 2004. In 2009, Bellamy was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the Government of France.  

Speech topics

The Quest for Global Education

Carol exemplifies servant leadership and leading with purpose. France awarded her the Légion d’honneur in recognition of her decade of service as executive director of UNICEF, the children’s agency of the United Nations.

As former Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Carol spearheaded the only multilateral partnership devoted to getting the world’s 67 million children (who are currently out of school in developing countries) into a school for a quality education. GPE is comprised of 46 developing countries, and over 30 bilateral, regional, and international agencies, development banks, the private sector, teachers, and local and global civil society groups.

Women and Children: Global Health’s Challenge

Women’s and children’s health issues have attained higher international visibility and renewed political commitment in recent decades. While targeted policies and programs have enabled children and women to lead healthier lives, significant disparities remain in many countries. Child and maternal health are closely intertwined. More than 536,000 women die of pregnancy-related causes each year. A child whose mother dies has 3 to 10 times greater risk of death than one whose mother survives.

With limited access to education or employment, high illiteracy rates and increasing poverty levels are making health improvements for women exceedingly difficult. And while impressive gains have been made in reducing child mortality in the past 40 years--globally, child deaths have halved from 20 million in 1960 to under 10 million in 2008-- progress has been geographically uneven, with child mortality rates either increasing or remaining constant in at least 26 countries.

Health related challenges continue. Many of the modest gains in women’s and children’s health realized in recent decades are now threatened or have been reversed due to war, economic instability and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Investing in women’s and children’s health, especially through an integrated system of care for mothers and children is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to save lives, strengthen communities and advance economic growth and development. In many parts of the world, widespread introduction of simple, inexpensive interventions have successfully targeted the major killers of infants and children. As well, there is strong international consensus regarding interventions that directly or indirectly improve maternal and reproductive health.

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