Unicef UK and Pearson Announce Innovation Talks

Organisations to collaborate on how innovation can help the world’s most marginalised children

Unicef UK and Pearson are holding a series of high level events over the next year which will bring together experts, thought-leaders and innovators from a range of industries and countries across the world. The ‘Activate Talks’ will examine how new technologies, products and businesses can help tackle the major issues confronting the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised children.

The first in this series of Activate Talks is in London on the 25 June on the topic of Future Learning. It will focus on the challenge of addressing the learning needs of the world’s young people, an estimated 250 million of which are unable to read and write. Moderated by BBC Click presenter Spencer Kelly, confirmed speakers include:

  • Juan Pablo Giraldo Ospino: Innovation Specialist at UNICEF Education
  • Tom Hall: VP - Technology Delivery, Growth Markets at Pearson 
  • Mike Muller: Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer at ARM Holdings
  • Dr. Aiman Badri: National Programme Officer for UNESCO in Sudan
  • Kate Radford: Innovation Programmes Manager at War Child Holland
  • Alison Naftalin: Founder & CEO at Lively Minds
  • Juan Santander: Chief of Social Policy, Planning, M&E  at UNICEF Lebanon
  • Zoe Peden: Co-Founder & Chief Juggler at Insane Logic
  • Vu Bui: COO of Mojang

Katherine Crisp, Unicef UK’s Head of Strategy and Innovation, said: “10 years ago, no-one in development imagined they would be using mobile phones to gather real-time information.

Today UNICEF uses them to report every birth in Nigeria, track educational supplies in Uganda and engage with over 800,000 young people globally via U-Report. However, this is just the start. Through our series of Activate Talks we want to foster dialogue, explore challenges, share different approaches and spark collaborations with new people. Together we want to build a better future for children.”

Amanda Gardiner, Pearson’s VP of Sustainability and Social Innovation, said: "Globally 58 million children are out of school and 250 million leave without basic skills. These vulnerable children need our help to receive the education they so rightfully deserve to make progress in their lives. We are delighted to be working with Unicef UK on this Activate Talks series. We want to spark innovative solutions to help tackle the challenges that affect the most marginalised children around the world."

The Activate Talks will culminate in a summary addressing each of the specific topics covered in the talks. Future topics will include finance, identity and transportation. These have been identified as high growth industries which are ripe for disruption and can have a real impact on remote communities. By bringing together development professionals, innovators and businesses at the Activate Talks, Unicef UK and Pearson want to start a conversation that helps build partnerships and develop solutions that can contribute to the work of keeping the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised children safe.

Attendance is by invitation only but the event will be live-streamed at http://blogs.unicef.org.uk/2015/06/18/activate-talk-future-learning/ from 4pm to 7:30pm on 25 June. There will be some opportunities for members of the press to interview speakers. Please contact stephanies@unicef.org.uk and tom.steiner@pearson.com for more information.



Unicef UK

Stephanie Shepherd
+44 (0)20 7375 6095


Tom Steiner
+44 7787 415 891

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, working in over 190 countries to help every child realise their full potential. We work with partners to transform the lives of children everywhere. Unicef provides health care, water, nutrition, education and protection for children. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged children are our priority. As champion of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we work to protect and promote the rights of every child. Unicef UK raises funds for Unicef’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit www.unicef.org.uk