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Tue 4 Aug 2015 03:47 PM

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Bill Clinton paid $5.6m by Dubai's GEMS to front charity arm

Payments as honorary chairman of the Varkey GEMS Foundation were revealed in tax returns released as part of Hilary Clinton’s presidential bid

Bill Clinton paid $5.6m by Dubai's GEMS to front charity arm

Former US President Bill Clinton has been paid $5.625 million since 2011 by Dubai’s GEMS Education to lead the company’s charity arm, according to tax returns released in the US this month.

Clinton, who served as 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001, was appointed honorary chairman of the Varkey GEMS Foundation in December 2010.

The payments he received as part of his role were detailed in tax returns released recently by his wife, former First Lady and US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, as part of her candidacy for the presidential race in 2016.

The tax returns state that Clinton was paid $500,000 by GEMS Education in 2011, $1.25 million in 2012, $1.75 million in 2013 and $2.125 million in 2014, amounting to a total of $5.625 million to date. Figures for 2015 were not disclosed.

The documents also show Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 to deliver a speech at the World Travel and Tourism Council in Abu Dhabi on April 9, 2013. The tax returns revealed the Clinton couple collectively earned a total of more than $139 million between 2007 and 2014, mainly from speeches and book deals.

Announcing Clinton’s appointment in December 2010, the chairman of GEMS Education, Sunny Varkey said: “We are honoured and privileged to have President Clinton as our honorary chairman. The foundation’s aim is to impact the lives of 10 million underprivileged children globally and I know that with his support we have a good chance of reaching that objective. Up to 70 million school age children worldwide do not have access to education, that is a travesty and we intend to do something about that by using all the resources available to us.”

“By working with international organisations that promote better educational standards, we seek to use our best talent, insight, and intellectual property to make a vital difference to the knowledge, skills and abilities of school leaders and teachers, who make the essential difference in a child’s educational journey.”

Commenting on his appointment, Clinton added: “Access to education provides the means to lift children out of poverty and that an educated child affects not only the child itself, but his or her family and the wider community. The Varkey GEMS Foundation's commitment will bring this opportunity to millions more children around the world by improving the quality and access to education for those less fortunate. One of the things I have learned travelling the world is that intelligence is evenly distributed but opportunity is not.

“Our ability to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, like poverty, is only possible when the private sector works alongside, and in partnership with, intergovernmental agencies and NGO’s and the Varkey GEMS Foundation is an excellent example of that. Recently, the Foundation announced a partnership with UNESCO to train 10,000 school Principals in Ghana, Kenya and India.”

The Varkey GEMS Foundation works with a number of former politicians to promote its educational message, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, through his Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who is a member of the foundation’s Global Advisory Board.

GEMS Education declined to comment when contacted by Arabian Business.

In June, GEMS Education reported its revenue grow by 20 percent in the year through to March, helped by rising fees and pupil numbers.

The National newspaper reported that GEMS, which operates more than 50 schools across 19 countries in the Middle East, North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, earned $674.8 million in revenue in the year through March, up 20 percent on the previous year’s figure of $559.6 million.

GEMS said its revenue increase was down to improvement enrolment numbers, which rose by nearly 9 percent to 98,000, and improved annual revenue per pupil.

Dubai's Fajr Capital led a group, including Blackstone and Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat, in acquiring a "significant minority stake" GEMS Education in October 2014.

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Fahad 4 years ago

On one hand Gems is providing such an expensive education in UAE , so in a way doing multi million business in the name of education and on the other hand they are supporting charity arm with million of dollars ... What about starting charity from your own institutions where you can avail the monies for providing cheap education. I will never send my kids to GEMS.

Troy 4 years ago

GEMs is way over expensive in the UAE. There are better schools for much less money.

Manos C 4 years ago

GEMS is 1st and foremost a highly profitable business. And given a choice the last place I would choose to educate my kids at. DESCRIBE/DESS, JESS,& Dubai College are far far better options. It is only because of a lack of choice that anyone would send their kids to a GEMS school, where profit is priority no. 1. Just ask any teacher who has ever worked ther (and left) their opinion of GEMS. It is. Huge mistake on Bill Clinton's part to be involved with them.

MiteshB 4 years ago

It is such a hypocrisy where you empty pockets of poor parents who send their kids to your school (due to lack of much choice) and then go on to do charity in other places and pay millions to someone to just be honorary member. For GEMS group, it would be nice to begin with providing good education here in this country at a reasonable price by which you would be beginning the charity at home. I request other business groups as well to come forward and start some good schools whose primary intention is to provide good education for a better future of mankind and the world that we live in, and that real good education would be best charitable thing to do.

Mosa 4 years ago

Wow, that's wonderful to know. Thank you for using our money for such honorable and great work.

That's what we earn for, to pay high profile people in millions of dollars for their 'precious' speeches.

Children's education fees? Oh that's nothing, peanuts!

Sammy Dias 4 years ago

Having two children going to GEMS and facing year on year fee in creases I am a dissapointed. I have noting against giving to charity but in this case why are they giving it to BILL. Give it directly to the needy people who willa ctually benefit from this. Its a big sum and I am sure that it would have benefitted a whole lot of needy people and I am sure Bill is not a needy person.
Am very dissapointed in this.

jill sanders 4 years ago

How does paying Bill Clinton $5.4 million, help to improve the charity arm . It just means less money distributed to poor kids in Africa and Asia

In Abu dhabi GEMS rated highest in fees charged , but mediocore in quality of education.

With a profit culture permeating through GEMS system , the C- suite is only concerned on short term profits to maximize their salaries, bonuses, stock options and then head back to the UK to leave the students in a hole.

There is no interest in retaining their staff, developing a bond between staff and administration which will lead to better standards. it seems that all are replaceable

Jamie 3 years ago


Michael 3 years ago

Stay far away from GEMS education. They are the reason why living in the UAE is so expensive (other than housing). When other schools see GEMS keep increasing their school fees, they do the same, so we all feel the pressure.

School groups around the world - come and provide affordable education for us the common man here.

khalid 3 years ago

since when (majority) of private schools cared about other than PROFIT!
i went to a free public government school and many of my fellow students have achieved greatness in all fields.
we might not have had colourful classes or modern facilities. but we were provided with an moderate education and discipline.
now private schools have skiing trips to Europe and school camping nights!