Atlantis Group

Bringing together the skills and experiences of former Ministers of Education and interested former heads of government across the world.

The Atlantis Group is an exclusive international advisory group whose members are former ministers of education and heads of State.

To succeed in the future, we first need to learn the lessons of the past. That’s why The Varkey Foundation created The Atlantis Group, an invitation-only body which brings together former ministers of education and heads of government from 25 countries around the world.

Members of the Atlantis Group have decades of experience in running and reforming public education systems and have grappled with some of the biggest issues in education at the highest levels of State.

Today, as part of the Atlantis Group, their mission is to address the challenges in global education – and to inform a new generation of leaders and policy-makers.

Members of the Atlantis Group are:*

Rosalía Arteaga Ecuador President and Vice-President of Ecuador [1996-1998]
Elias Bou Saab Lebanon Minister of Education and Higher Education [2014-2016]
Esteban Bullrich Argentina Minister of Education and Sports [2015-2017] and Minister of Education of Buenos Aires [2010-2015]
David Coltart Zimbabwe Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture [2009-2013]
Claudia Costin Brazil Secretary of Education for Rio de Janeiro [2009-2014]
Nuno Crato Portugal Minister of Education and Science, Portugal [2011-2015]
Arne Duncan USA Secretary of Education, USA [2009-2015]
Jorge Ferrão Mozambique Minister of Education and Human Development, Mozambique [2015-2016]
Luis E. Garcia de Brigard Colombia Deputy Minister of Education of Colombia [2014-2015]
Stefania Giannini Italy Minister of Education, Universities and Research, Italy [2014-2016]
Justine Greening UK Secretary of State for Education [2016-2018]
Zlatko Lagumdžija Bosnia and Herzegovina Chairman of the Council of Ministers [2001-2002]
Ju-Ho Lee South Korea Minister of Education, Science and Technology [2010-2013]
Armin Luistro Philippines Secretary of the Department of Education [2010-2016]
Silas Lwakabamba Rwanda Minister of Education [2014-2015]
Bálint  Magyar Hungary Minister of Education [1996-1998; 2002-2006]
Steve Maharey New Zealand Minister of Education [2005-2007] [Hon. Maharey has also held other ministerial roles relevant to education]
Nicky Morgan UK Secretary of State for Education [2014-2016]
George Papandreou Greece Prime Minister [2009-2011] Minister of Education and Religious Affairs [1994-1996]
Remus Pricopie Romania Minister of Education and Research of Romania [2012-2014] and State Secretary of Higher Education and Research [2007-2008]
Jo Ritzen The Netherlands Minister of Education and Science and of Education, Culture and Science [1989-1998]
Jaime Saavedra Peru Minister of Education [2013-2016]
Maia Sandu Moldova Minister of Education [2012-2015]
Najat Vallaud-Belkacem France Minister of Education, Higher Education and Research [2014-2017]
Androulla Vassiliou European Commission European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth [2010-2014]
Srdjan Verbić Serbia Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development [2014-2016]
Atlantis Group summit, London – 21-22 October 2017

In October 2017, 15 members of the Atlantis Group came together for a two day event in London to discuss the role of political leadership in education. The Group were delighted to be joined by Lord Andrew Adonis, Andreas Schleicher from the OECD, Maria-Elena Aguero from the Club De Madrid, Professor Fernando Reimers from Harvard, Vijita Patel the Principal of Swiss Cottage School, John Bangs from Education International and Professor Becky Francis from the Institute of Education.

At the culmination of their discussions, they published an open letter to the governments of the G20, which can be read here.


Learning To Lead


Four principles for ministers of education to survive and succeed in government.

Read more