World's Education Leaders to Meet


U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced an International Summit on the Teaching Profession in New York City, March 16-17, 2011.

The summit will convene education ministers, master teachers, national union leaders, and education organization leaders from countries with high performing and rapidly improving educational systems. The purpose of the summit is to identify best practices worldwide that strengthen the teaching profession and raise student achievement.

"When it comes to teaching, talent matters tremendously," said Secretary Duncan. "But great teachers are not just born that way—it takes a high-quality system for recruiting, training, retaining, and supporting teachers over the course of their careers to develop an effective teaching force. This summit is a tremendous opportunity to learn from one another the best methods worldwide to address our common challenges: supporting and strengthening teachers and boosting the student skills necessary for success in today's knowledge economy."

Asia Society, along with OECD, National Education Association (NEA), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Council of Chief State School Officers, public broadcasting station WNET, and Education International will co-host the event, along with the U.S. Department of Education.

"Teachers are the key to a successful education system, a fact recognized worldwide," observed Tony Jackson, vice president for education at Asia Society. "Asia Society looks forward to this opportunity to collaborate and learn with other nations so that we can continue to improve our teaching force and provide students with a globally competent education."

(Click here for more on Asia Society's education initiatives.)

"The prosperity of our nations depends on whether we succeed to attract the brightest minds into the teaching profession and the most talented teachers into the most challenging classrooms," said OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría. "Working directly with leaders and teachers from across the globe is key to investing in our most precious asset--our youth."

Participants will also engage in a discussion on the vital role teachers play in advancing progressive, sustainable education reform. "The summit represents a unique opportunity for teachers and their unions globally to consider the future of their profession as equal partners with governments," said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. "Qualified teachers are vital to the health and success of all our societies. Their input and status are vital to advancing the fight to achieve high quality education for all."

The March summit, which is by invitation only, is a first step in what will be an ongoing dialogue among these countries about the best way to achieve and sustain best practices to improve both teaching and learning. The department plans to work with participating leaders to compile and share effective practices publicly in the weeks following the summit.

-- Journalists interested in talking Asia Society experts about the summit can contact our New York press office at 212-327-9271 or