Varkey Foundation

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Varkey Foundation
Formation2010; 14 years ago (2010)
FoundersSunny Varkey
TypeCharitable foundation
PurposeEducation, teacher training
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom[1][2]
Area served
Key people
Sunny Varkey
Formerly called
Varkey GEMS Foundation

The Varkey Foundation, initially the Varkey GEMS Foundation, is the nonprofit arm of GEMS Education, an education management company.[3] It was formed in 2010 by Indian businessman Sunny Varkey, GEMS chairman.[4]

The Varkey Foundation has partnered with a variety of major global organizations including UNESCO, UNICEF, and the Clinton Global Initiative. It gives out the Global Teacher Prize, a US$1 million award.


The foundation was formed by Sunny Varkey in 2010 as the philanthropic arm of GEMS Education, and was initially called the Varkey GEMS Foundation. Its stated intention is to impact 100 impoverished children for every child enrolled at GEMS schools.[5][6][7] Bill Clinton was involvement at the official launch of the foundation.[5][8]

Sunny Varkey is chairman of the Varkey Foundation. The foundation's trustees are Sunny Varkey, as well as his sons Dino and Jay Varkey.[9]

The foundation has a Teacher Training Programme in under-served communities.[10][11]

In 2013, the foundation launched the annual Global Education and Skills Forum,[12] in partnership with UNESCO and the UAE Ministry of Education.[13] Bill Clinton gave the inaugural keynote address at the 2013 summit.[14]

In October 2013, the foundation published the Global Teacher Status Index,[15][16] a 53-page study on the public and social status of teachers in 21 countries around the world.

Global Teacher Prize[edit]

In order to raise the status of teaching, at the second annual Global Education and Skills Forum in March 2014, the foundation launched the Global Teacher Prize, an annual $1 million award to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession.[17]


  1. ^ The Varkey Foundation. British Expertise. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Strength of Ghanaian women". CNN. (video). 6 October 2014.
  3. ^ Abrioux, Marc and Jill Rutherford. Introducing the IB Diploma Programme. Cambridge University Press, 2013. p. 118.
  4. ^ Sunny Varkey – Profile at Forbes. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b Hamdan, Sara. "Building an Education Empire". Global Citizen. July/August 2012.
  6. ^ Varkey GEMS Foundation – Projects Archived 9 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Gems launches new education initiative". Trade Arabia. 13 December 2010.
  8. ^ George, Joseph. "Bill Clinton launches Varkey GEMS Foundation". Emirates 24/7. 13 December 2010.
  9. ^ Varkey Foundation – Governance. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  10. ^ "Dubai Cares partners with Varkey GEMS Foundation to train and develop teachers across the developing world". Zawya. 16 March 2014.
  11. ^ Coughlan, Sean. "The man behind the million-dollar teacher". BBC News. 5 May 2015.
  12. ^ Global Education & Skills Forum Archived 26 March 2015 at the Library of Congress Web Archives. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  13. ^ Buller, Alice. "Exclusive Interview: GEMS Chairman Sunny Varkey Talks Profits And Philanthropy". Gulf Business. 3 July 2013.
  14. ^ Prois, Jessica. "Bill Clinton: Educating Underserved Girls Is 'Deeply Human Drama' Of This Century". Huffington Post. 15 March 2013.
  15. ^ Gupta, Amita. Diverse Early Childhood Education Policies and Practices: Voices and Images from Five Countries in Asia. Routledge, 2014. p. 150.
  16. ^ Coughlan, Sean. "Teachers in China given highest level of public respect". BBC News. 14 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Applications open for world’s first one million dollar teacher prize" (press release). March 2014.

External links[edit]