CANNES – Organizers of a U.N.-backed campaign for universal education called on TV execs at MipTV Wednesday to get behind a series of initiatives over the next 1,000 days, including a June 1 concert in London to be headlined by Beyonce.
Former U.K. prime minister Gordon Brown, who is the U.N.’s special envoy for global education, hosted a discussion at the mart on the U.N.’s Global Education First Initiative, which highlighted the fact that 61 million children in the world — mostly girls — do not have access to education and seeks to remedy that by the end of 2015.
“I believe this is the one audience in the world that can make a huge difference in the next 2½ years as we move to this deadline,” Brown said. “If we could bring the television companies of the world together to take a huge interest — as some of you already do — in global education, we can achieve this goal.”
Brown was joined at the event by a number of media and showbiz-related figures who are backing the campaign, including John Wood, one of the founders of Microsoft and founder of charity Room to Read; David Zaslav, prexy and CEO of Discovery Communications; and Robert Triefus, chief marketing officer for Gucci.
Gucci backs charity Chime for Change, which campaigns for women’s rights and is organizing the London concert. The event, which features Ellie Goulding and Florence + the Machine among others, is being staged with the help of music promoter Harvey Goldsmith and Kevin Wall, CEO of Los Angeles’ Control Room, who both helped organize LiveAid and Live Earth.
“The idea on June 1 is to have a catalytic moment in the spirit of Live Aid and Live Earth, a musical event, a celebration that brings people around the issue, raises awareness and raises funds,” Triefus said.
Wood, whose charity sets up libraries in poor countries, spoke about television’s potential to be a force for good, citing the backing Oprah Winfrey gave to his charity on her show.
Zaslav spoke about Discovery’s efforts to fund media centers in developing countries that teachers use to aid learning. Zaslav said the company had invested $75 million in the initiative, which has helped set up 450 such centers.