Al Jazeera’s Folly Bah Thibault appointed to UN education fund
The acclaimed international journalist from Guinea has been appointed as a Global Champion for Education Cannot Wait.
Al Jazeera’s Folly Bah Thibault, an acclaimed international journalist, has been appointed as a Global Champion for Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.
“Folly Bah Thibault is a visionary journalist and humanitarian. As one of the world’s leading advocates for education, we are delighted to announce her as our new Education Cannot Wait Global Champion,” said Yasmine Sherif, the global fund’s executive director.
With more than two decades working as a journalist, Bah Thibault has covered some of the world’s most pressing events, including the Arab Spring, and the wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya. She has interviewed heads of state, Nobel Prize winners, artists and influencers across the globe. The New African Magazine has named Bah Thibault as one of the “Most Influential Africans” working today.
“This journey started in 2014 when one of my sisters died unexpectedly and tragically. Her first salary went to sponsoring young kids in her neighbourhood in Benin who weren’t going to school at the time. When she died, I felt it was my mission to continue what she had started. So that’s how my journey advocating for education for African kids, for the world’s poorest children, began,” Bah Thibault said.
Through her work for Al Jazeera, Bah Thibault has become one of the most recognised and respected journalists not only in her home country Guinea but across the globe. Her coverage of some of the world’s most important news stories as a journalist for Al Jazeera continues to shed light on forgotten crises across the globe.
“Being in the position that I’m in today – news anchor at Al Jazeera English – considered by many, especially on the African continent to be a success story for African women, I feel it’s my duty to give back to my continent because I know where I come from, I know the suffering and the hardships many people experience on a daily basis,” Bah Thibault said.
“This is my way of giving back in a way – by making sure that young African children have access to quality education, especially young African girls,” Bah Thibault said, adding one of her motivations has been being part of a family of five girls and having a father who supported their education.
“So I wanted to replicate that and also to make sure young African girls also have access to quality education that they can decide perhaps on the number of children they want to have – that they can decide on a future that brings them freedom and dignity.”
Born in Conakry, Guinea, Bah Thibault studied at Howard University and American University in the United States. She worked for Radio France International and later joined France24 television as an anchor before joining Al Jazeera English as a principal presenter in 2010 and relocating to Qatar.
A world-renowned moderator and public speaker, Bah Thibault launched her foundation – Elle Ira à l’Ecole – in 2019 to help young girls in Guinea have access to education.
“I’m absolutely honoured to be part of a global movement. I started locally in Guinea in West Africa but to be part of the global movement now to make sure those who are impacted by crises have access to quality and safe education is a true honour for me. It was a logical step.”