The Education Cluster Unit acts as the secretariat for the Global Education Cluster. Staffed by UNICEF and Save the Children employees, the Unit is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
The ECU staff work to support country clusters, providing support and guidance and managing the deployments of the Rapid Response Team. ECU staff can be deployed during large scale, sudden onset emergencies when necessary and they regularly travel to provide technical assistance and training.
The ECU also plays a major role in representing the Education Cluster in various humanitarian events and meetings in Geneva and around the world; advocating for the right to education for those affected by humanitarian emergencies.
The Education Cluster Unit is also part of, and receives support from, UNICEF’s Global Cluster Coordination Unit (GCCU). The GCCU, comprised of all UNICEF led and co-led clusters (WASH, Nutrition, Education, Child Protection, Gender-based Violence), provides technical support on humanitarian policy, information management and communication, and works to create synergies and common approaches between clusters.
A Steering Group of senior managers from both UNICEF and Save the Children provide oversight and strategic guidance to the ECU as well as address broader strategic and management issues related to the UN and NGO co-lead arrangement.
Meet the ECU team (click to see full bios):
Maria Agnese Giordano – Education Cluster Coordinator
Maria Agnese has over 13 years of professional experience with various organizations in the areas of education in emergencies and humanitarian action, including in management, planning and evaluation roles.
Before joining the Global Education Cluster in June 2016, Maria Agnese worked for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in New York in the areas of evaluation and strategic planning. At UN Headquarters in New York, she also worked in the UNICEF Evaluation Office on education in emergencies, and education and peacebuilding. Previously, in the Division for Policy, Evaluation and Training of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations she was responsible for policy development and knowledge management in the area of civil affairs. During these experiences, Maria Agnese worked on a number of emergencies, including in the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Liberia, Nepal, South Sudan and Syria.
Maria Agnese spent over five years in the Western Balkans with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in both Montenegro and Serbia, focussing on education for national and ethnic minorities. In Kosovo, with the OSCE, she facilitated, promoted and managed a large programme to return IDPs and refugees, including through access to a quality and relevant education.
Maria Agnese holds a Master of International Education and Development from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom, and a graduate degree in Languages and Literature from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”.
Tyler Arnot – Education Cluster Coordinator
Tyler began his career with Save the Children US in 2007, going on to work in Malawi, Sudan, South Sudan and Bhutan in international programme management, communications and grant management. After receiving a Masters of Education from Harvard University with a focus on education in emergencies he went on to serve as Education Cluster Coordinator in Somalia. Tyler then joined the Global Education Cluster Rapid Response Team with Save the Children UK and later with NRC/UNICEF. In his role with the RRT, he has supported national clusters in strategy development, capacity building and information management capacities. With the Global Education Cluster, he has held lead roles in processes such as the development of the Core Skills Training package and attacks on education consultancy.
Tyler started in his new role as Global Education Cluster Coordinator in July 2016.
Lauren Burns – Information & Knowledge Management Advisor
Lauren Burns joined the Education Cluster Unit in January 2013. She is responsible for helping enhance the quality of Education Cluster services through improved information and knowledge management at the global and country level. Her previous work in humanitarian affairs involved enhancing disaster response efforts through information management, communications, and stakeholder engagement activities with the United Nations, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, the Office of the Governor of Wisconsin, and various academic institutions. She holds a Master of Arts in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Lisa Sabot-Schmid – Communications and Programme Officer
Lisa has been with Education Cluster Unit since November 2009. She provides assistance on all administrative and support functions of the Education Cluster Unit and leads the day to day implementation of the communications strategy. Before joining the ECU, Lisa worked as Project Officer for IOM Gender Unit where she focused on activities preventing Female Genital Mutilations, and as Programme Officer & Chief Administrative Officer for Soroptimist International of Europe. Lisa holds a Master of Advanced Studies in Asian studies and a Masters degree in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. She speaks English and French.
To contact the Education Cluster Unit, please reach us through the Support and Contacts section.