Nicholas Burnett leads the global education portfolio at Results for Development (R4D). His work centers on addressing tough challenges in the field of global education that are often neglected, especially using combinations of analysis, financing, model identification and connecting key stakeholders. Current areas of activity include innovation in education (through the Center for Education Innovations), education financing and innovative financing, the linkage between secondary education and skills for employment, out-of-school children, early childhood education, and the links between health and education.
Burnett also chairs the board of the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning in Paris and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Global Business Development Network, and of Americans for UNESCO. He is also a visiting Special Professor of International Education Policy at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom and was in 2014-15 Visiting Professor at the Center for the Study of International Cooperation in Education at Hiroshima University in Japan.
Burnett joined R4D in 2010 after a distinguished career including stints with UNESCO, the World Bank, the British government and his own consulting firm. He served as Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, responsible for its education work at its Paris headquarters, in four regional bureaus, in over 50 country offices and at 8 institutes and centers, with an annual budget of some $100 million and approximately 400 staff worldwide. Before becoming ADG, he was Director of the UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report, an independent team responsible for monitoring progress toward the EFA goals and the education Millennium Development Goals. At the World Bank, where he worked for 20 years, particularly on Africa and on the Caribbean, he was responsible for the Bank’s education policy paper in 1995 and managed its education, health and social protection work in 16 countries in West and Central Africa from 1997-2000 with a portfolio of about $2 billion. While a consultant he helped set up the Roma Education Fund in 2003-04. Early in his career he was an Economic Adviser at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Burnett was educated as an economist at Oxford (BA), Harvard (Henry Fellow) and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (MA, PhD).