About the Center


As of July 1, 2009, the Center for Universal Education has moved to Brookings Institution. For more information, please visit CUE’s new website at: www.brookings.edu/universal-education


The Center for Universal Education was founded in 2002 by Gene Sperling, former national economic adviser to President Clinton, and is housed at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. The ultimate aim of the center is to work with key officials, NGOs and other experts to formulate strategies, policies and recommendations to advance the UN Millennium Development Goal of education for all by 2015.

The Center achieves this goal through several important activities:

  • Convening key parties in a central forum to review major policy issues regarding basic education
  • Providing effective and accessible policy and political analysis to assist U.S. policy makers and educate the public on the issue of universal education
  • Designing and promoting effective policies for a global financing framework at the World Bank and G8 level
  • Providing high-profile public commentary on education in poor nations

Some of the main activities of the center over the past year include:

  • Providing analyses and recommendations which have been instrumental in the development of a global architecture for universal education. The center's recommendations have been particularly influential in the development of the bipartisan Education for All Act of 2007, the strengthening of the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI), the UK's major expansion of basic education funding under Prime Minister Gordon Brown's leadership and the recommendations of the UN Millennium Task Force Report on Education and Gender Equity.
  • Delivering new analyses and recommendations on financing education in conflict situations to major G8 development agencies, the United Nations, and the World Bank at major forums in Cairo, London, and Bonn.
  • Collaborating with the newly formed Education Partnership for Children of Conflict. Working closely with the Education Partnership, the Center produces and disseminates ongoing policy analyses on issues for education in emergencies. The Education Partnership aims to raise awareness of the issue of young people denied education by conflict and emergency situations.
  • Serving in advisory capacities on the FTI Steering Committee, FTI Fragile States Task Team, the Advisory Board of the Gates/Hewlett Foundations Partnership on Quality Education in Developing Countries (QEDC), and the U.S. Chapter of the Global Campaign for Education, and the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Working Group on Education and Fragility.
  • Hosting Roundtable series featuring prominent guests, including Ministers from Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Rwanda. The center also hosted the Secretary of State for International Development for the UK, Douglas Alexander, on his first visit to Washington, DC, in his new role.
  • Forging partnerships to reach classrooms across the country. Through partnerships with PBS Wide Angle and Global Campaign for Education, the Center for Universal Education has distributed curriculum and DVDs to over 1,000 schools in the United States to educate tens of thousands of students about universal education.

The activities of the Center for Universal Education are made possible thanks to the generous support of William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), Unbound Philanthropy, and the Boeing Company.