Gordon Brown is the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Since September 2021, he also serves as WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing.
He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010 and is widely credited with preventing a second Great Depression through his stewardship of the 2009 London G20 summit. He was one of the first leaders during the global crisis to initiate calls for global financial action, while introducing a range of rescue measures in the UK. In April 2009, he hosted the G20 Summit in London where world leaders committed to make an additional $1.1 trillion available to help the world economy through the crisis and restore credit, growth and jobs. They also pledged to strengthen financial supervision and regulation.
Previously, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1997 to 2007, making him the longest-serving Chancellor in modern history. During ten years at the Treasury, Gordon masterminded many of Labour’s proudest achievements including the Minimum Wage, Sure Start, the Winter Fuel Allowance, the Child Trust Fund, the Child Tax Credit and paid paternity leave. His record on global justice includes his negotiation of debt cancellation for the world’s poorest nations and the tripling of the budget for life-saving aid. His time as Chancellor was also marked by major reform of Britain’s monetary and fiscal policy as well as the sustained investment in health, education and overseas aid.
His role in government continued to shape his views on the importance of education as a fundamental right of every child in the world and the key to unlocking better health, greater social stability, more rights and opportunities for women and a higher standard of living. He is a passionate advocate for global action to ensure education for all. In his role as UN Special Envoy for Global Education, he works closely with key partners to help galvanise support for global education investment and the use of innovative financing to reach the UN’s global goals. He is Chair of the High-Level Steering Group for Education Cannot Wait, the fund for education in emergencies; Chair of the Inquiry on Protecting Children in Conflict; and Chair of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity.
In 2020, he played a key role leading a group of 275 former world leaders, economists and educationalists calling for international action to prevent the global health crisis creating a “COVID generation” to avoid the reality of tens of millions of children with no hope of an education.
In his role as WHO Ambassador, Gordon has been invited by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to raise awareness internationally on the great need for sustained global health financing, particularly from G20 and G7 countries, and the immediate task is to work together to finance the vaccination of the whole world and protect the poorest countries from the terrible effects of COVID-19 and other diseases.
In addition to his global education work Gordon is an advisor to the Graça Machel Trust, a Senior Panel Member at the Kofi Annan Foundation initiative on Electoral Integrity, and he is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Within the United Kingdom, Gordon is also the founder of Our Scottish Future, and the Alliance for Full Employment.
Gordon is the author of several books including Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation, My Scotland, Our Britain and My Life, Our Times and most recently, Seven Ways to Change the World (Simon & Schuster, June 2021).
Gordon has a PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh and spent his early career working as a lecturer and in television production. He has been awarded several honorary doctorates, most recently Doctor of the University from The Open University.
He is married to Sarah Brown, the Chair of global children’s charity, Their world and Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, and the couple live in Fife, Scotland with their two teenagers.