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International Guests at the 2011 RA

Left to right: John Wilson, NEA Executive Director, Mary-Lou Donnelly, president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

President of Canadian Teachers’ Federation Urges Delegates to Help Strengthen International Partnerships

July 04, 2011
By Tim Walker

On Monday, the 2011 NEA RA greeted three special guests representing NEA’s international partnerships – Mary-Lou Donnelly president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, former NEA President and founding president of Education International (EI) Mary Hatwood Futrell, and former NEA President and EI Vice President Reg Weaver.

In her remarks today, Mary-Lou Donnelly praised Van Roekel’s commitment to secure international partnerships and told delegates to reach beyond borders in their advocacy.

“Governments never do anything in isolation,” Donnelly said. “They are always talking to each other and those of us who care about public education must do the same. We live in a world where everything that’s done has a global effect on every one of us. We have a responsibility to educate everyone, to pass on a quality education to the next generation.”

Education International is a confederation of more than 400 educations unions from across the globe representing some 30 million teachers and education workers worldwide.

Weaver’s term as EI vice president representing North America and the Caribbean is coming to an end and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel is a candidate to succeed Weaver. The election is scheduled at the World Congress – the governing body of Education International – in Cape Town, South Africa later this month.

In his statement of candidacy, Van Roekel said: “We are the largest of the Global Union Federations and we must lead in the global labor movement by demanding and defending equality for all workers everywhere. We can never remain silent or idle. Whether that means bringing pressure on the international financial institutions that artificially depress wages or on foreign governments that jail or target unionists, silence and inaction are the way of extinction.”

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