Building and leveraging networks around a common purpose is a key aspect of education diplomacy. Mahmuda Akhter, Executive Director of the Institute of Child and Human Development (ICHD) in Bangladesh, has experienced this firsthand.
Education diplomacy is necessary to guide stakeholder processes toward ensuring education for all, establishing new policies and strategies, reaching agreements, and understanding a nation’s interest in providing education through public-private partnerships. Liberia's recent efforts to improve its failing education system provide a background for considering how education diplomacy can bring various stakeholders into discussions that would culminate in agreements to advance education for all.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) provides the foundation for positive human development. Research shows that ECD contributes to the reduction of poverty and yields very high economic returns, offsetting disadvantage and inequality, especially for children from poor families. Although ECD as a holistic approach for child protection, survival, growth, development, and learning, fulfills child rights for young children as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it has historically not been prioritized in education program development and national policies by nations around the world. However, as a result of increased advocacy and international cooperation, universal access to quality early childhood development has been included in Sustainable Development Goal 4 for Education, which will potentially galvanize the global community to meet this target by 2030.
In this Education Diplomacy Blog post, Meenakshi Dahal, illustrates how she used the skills of diplomacy to prioritize ECD programming and advance ECD policy in Nepal. She includes her perspective in working with both non-governmental organizations and government ministries. In order to gain trust and sustained support for the role and benefits of ECD for families in the community, Meenakshi actively built relationships through negotiation and by convening diverse stakeholders to the program. Through development of social capital, expertise, and the ability to forecast local and national needs, Meenakshi was therefore able to advance ECD more broadly in Nepal.
You can reach the Center for Education Diplomacy at Association for Childhood Education International 1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, 10th Floor | Washington, D.C., 20009 | edudiplomacy[at]acei[dot]org | (202) 372-9986 | Toll-free U.S. & Canada: (800) 423-3563