Press Release

Imaginable Futures and UNICEF Launches New Podcast: Learning to Overcome
Series Features Strategies from Global Education Leaders and Innovators on Supporting Students and Families Through COVID-19 and Beyond

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Imaginable Futures, a venture of The Omidyar Group, and UNICEF launched a three-part podcast series, Learning to Overcome, that features discussions with educators, innovators and entrepreneurs on strategies for ensuring equitable access to quality remote learning and supporting students’ well-being through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The podcast is hosted by longtime NPR reporter Gwen Thompkins.

During its peak, around 1.5 billion children and young people—or 91% of students worldwide—had been impacted by COVID-19. As the pandemic continues, schools around the world have had to delay opening this fall or implement a remote learning strategy. This abrupt shift has disrupted learning and upended lives, especially among the most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Still, real-time responses during and after COVID-19 can provide catalytic opportunities to take a collective leap forward towards providing more inclusive and equitable quality education for all children. This time also unearths challenges we need to overcome to ensure children can continue learning.

Imaginable Futures and UNICEF created this podcast series to amplify the voices of those on the frontlines of education during the pandemic and offer solutions and digital innovations to help the education community—as well as students and families—persevere during this uniquely challenging time. Conversations focus on new approaches, what’s worked or hasn’t, and how the pandemic might reshape the education landscape.

“Make no mistake: COVID-19 is not just a public health crisis, it is an education crisis,” said Amy Klement, managing partner of Imaginable Futures. “We must embrace this moment in time to listen and learn from teachers, students, and innovators about how we can best support our learners and rebuild our systems. We hope these conversations inspire others to think more expansively about how to make world-class, holistic and inclusive learning available to all.”

Learning to Overcome guests include Teach For All CEO Wendy Kopp, Khan Academy founder Sal Khan and UNICEF’s Chief of Education Robert Jenkins, as well as other global education leaders.

Discussion topics include the importance of local leadership and equity-focused innovations when school is without a physical classroom; remote learning innovations with technology as well as for when technology isn’t available and the resulting growth in the education divide; and how to support students’ mental well-being and nurture social emotional development.

Learning to Overcome is available on iTunes and Spotify. New episodes will release each Monday from September 21 – October 5. More information on the episodes can be found at https://www.imaginablefutures.com/learnings/learning-to-overcome/.

Host Gwen Thompkins was an NPR foreign correspondent based in Nairobi where she reported on the toppling of the Islamic Courts Union government in Somalia, ethnic violence in Kenya, insecurity in Darfur and Sudan’s first nationwide elections in a generation. Prior to covering East Africa, she was a senior editor of Weekend Edition Saturday. She reported from her hometown of New Orleans on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding efforts. Thompkins currently hosts Music Inside Out on WWNO in New Orleans.

Learning to Overcome was produced by Matter Unlimited.

About Imaginable Futures

Imaginable Futures (IF) is a global philanthropic investment firm that believes learning has the power to unlock human potential and aspires to provide every learner with the opportunity and the tools they need to imagine, and to realize, a brighter future. By taking a systems approach to solving complex education challenges, IF works across public, private and social sectors to bring to life transformational ideas in local, national and global contexts for learners of all ages. With a deep commitment to on-the-ground partnership and co-creation with those we serve, Imaginable Futures is empowering learners, families and communities to be the changemakers of the future. Established in 2020 and managed by a global team, Imaginable Futures has invested over $200 million in more than 100 partners across Africa, Latin America and the United States, as well as in India with sister organization, Omidyar Network India. Imaginable Futures is a venture of The Omidyar Group, and is founded and funded by Pierre and Pam Omidyar. Follow us on Twitter and learn more at www.imaginablefutures.com.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit http://www.unicef.org. Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.


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