Education International begins new chapter with new general secretary

After 25 years Fred van Leeuwen officially hands over the keys to David Edwards, who will lead the organisation into its next phase promoting the teaching profession and public education around the world.

Van Leeuwen, who officially steps down March 1st after leading the organisation through its first 25 years, announced his intention to retire in early 2017. David Edwards will take over as general secretary after being named to the post by the organisation’s Executive Board.

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.

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.”

Staff had the chance to say good-bye to the long-time general secretary at an event in Brussels where many shared their memories.

Van Leeuwen’s career as general secretary dates back to 1981 when he took on the role for the IFFTU in Amsterdam.

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