American David Edwards has been chosen to succeed outgoing and founding General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen after being named to the post by the organisation’s Executive Board.
The decision was made on day one of Education International (EI)’s 50th Executive Board Meeting in Brussels, Belgium. The announcement kicked-off what will be a busy week as the organisation prepares to mark its 25th anniversary on the 26 January.
Edwards, 43, had held the position of Deputy General Secretary since 2011 where he led EI’s work in the areas of Education Policy, Employment, Research and, most recently, communication.
“I am honoured, excited and ready to lead this organisation forward. Thank you to @eduint Executive Board for your confidence,” wrote Edwards in a Tweet shortly after being named.
Prior to joining EI, Edwards was Associate Director of Governance and Policy and head of International Relations at the National Education Association (NEA) of the United States. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he began his career as a public, high school foreign language teacher and holds a Ph.D. in International Education Policy.
Van Leeuwen, who is set to officially step-down March 1st after leading the organisation through its first 25 years, announced his intention to retire in early 2017. As the founding General Secretary, van Leeuwen was one of the original architects who worked to merge the International Federation Free Teachers Union (IFFTU) and the World Confederation Organisation of the Teaching Profession (WCTPO) in 1993.
“I do believe that fresh blood is necessary,” says van Leeuwen on his motivation to retire. “It is quite a privilege to work for an organisation that is of such crucial importance to so many members of the teaching profession.”
To learn more about Fred’s decision to step down, click here for an exclusive interview with Radio Labour.