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The work with UNESCO and the World Bank has put Professor Brinkman into close contact with key movers and shakers from countries all over the world, paving the way for further collaborations.

“It’s just immediate contact at ministerial level for literally every single country in the world, so it’s an opportunity to develop really strategic, important networks that then enable me to build the research agenda in terms of international child development."

Professor Sally Brinkman

“But it’s also an opportunity for me to understand the needs of the different countries – the different challenges they face and what supports they may need.”

As difficult as it can be to work with countries whose political imperatives can change in the blink of an eye – as governments and individuals rise and fall – Professor Brinkman finds the work deeply rewarding.

“Clearly my own experiences growing up aren’t the same as the families in the countries where I’m working – many of them have completely different levels of poverty – but I do understand that if you have that base level of universal support, with targeted strategies on top of that, it’s going to help parents and communities better support their children,” Professor Brinkman said.

“I know from my own experience that the right kind of support at the right time in a child’s life can make all the difference – that’s what really drives me.”

Ministers from Chad, Dubai, Cameron, Eswatini, South Sudan along with the UNESCO-IBE director Dr Yao Ydo, the CEO of Dubai Cares, and the CEO of Green Leaves Education Foundation


Sally with delegates in Dubai, 2022