2013 Global Presence Humanitarian Award
John Wood – RoomtoRead.org
John Wood is the founder and board chair of Room to Read. He started Room to Read after a fast-paced and distinguished career with Microsoft from 1991 to 1999. He was in charge of marketing and business development teams throughout Asia, including serving as director of business development for the Greater China region and as director of marketing for the Asia-Pacific region. John continues to bring Room to Read a vision for a scalable solution to developing global educational problems with an intense focus on results and an ability to attract a world-class group of employees, volunteers, and funders.
Today, John focuses full-time on long-term strategy, capital acquisition, public speaking, and media opportunities for the organization. John also teaches at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and New York University’s Stern School of Business and serves on the Advisory Board of the Clinton Global Initiative. John holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University.
Follow John on Twitter @JohnWoodRtR.
Room to Read
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimates that over 67 million children of primary school age are not enrolled in school, the majority of whom are female. Room to Read believes that education is a fundamental right for every child, no matter their nationality or gender.
Room to Read had its humble origins in Nepal in 2000, where they began bringing donated books to rural communities. Today, they are a global organization dedicated to promoting and enabling education through programs focused on literacy and gender equality. They achieve this goal by establishing school libraries, building schools, publishing local-language children’s books, and training teachers on literacy education.
Less known about Room to Read’s activism is that they not only support boys and girls in completing primary and secondary school, they empower them also with the life skills necessary to succeed in school and beyond. Room to Read’s Life Skills Competency Framework includes 30 Life Skills, including personal care, safety, and interpersonal communications.
Room to Read is currently active in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia – with plans to expand so they can bring educational opportunities and resources to children throughout the developing world. Their programs have benefited more than 7.8 million children to date and they are on track to reach 10 million children by 2015.