Janet Parker Whitla ’52 was President and CEO of Education Development Center (EDC) for 25 years (1981-2006). Under Whitla’s leadership, EDC became one of the world’s leading health and education research and development organizations. Her vision and leadership skills guided EDC through unprecedented growth, including a dramatic expansion of its international work.
EDC is a global non profit organization that designs, delivers and evaluates programs to address some of the world’s most urgent challenges in education, health and economic development. Working with the public sector and private partners to improve education, promote health care, prepare workforces, the organization encourages civic engagement and deploys communications and other technologies to increase the quality of life of people in many countries.
Under Whitla’s direction, EDC launched over 300 projects in more than 64 countries around the world and grew from a $5 million to a $125 million per year non-profit organization. The theme she drove during her tenure at the EDC was learning as the essential element in human progress. In the 2004 EDC Annual Report, Whitla wrote, “(Long ago I) concluded that learning is not only the most fundamental human behavior, at the core of consciousness, but also the liberating force in human development.”
Whitla was instrumental in launching the “YES” campaign (an action-oriented initiative in 55 countries, responding to the enormous global challenge of youth unemployment through a youth leadership and enterprise-based model), hosting it at EDC for 8 plus years until it became an independent international organization.
Other examples of programs started, funded and/or supported during Whitla’s tenure include:
Whitla has written and contributed to numerous publications and many research works and made professional presentations on a wide variety of educational topics at national and international forums.
Whitla’s other activities include:
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