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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Western Union’s UEFA Europa League PASS Campaign Scores for Education

TURIN, Italy -- On the day of the UEFA Europa League Final 2014, The Western Union Company (NYSE:WU), a leader in global payment services and Global Partner of the UEFA Europa League, together with the Western Union Foundation, announces the contribution to education that its PASS initiative has been making after a second season of the programme that has supported UNICEF secondary education programs in Jamaica, Nigeria and Turkey.

Western Union’s PASS initiative has been turning every successful pass made during the 2012/13, current and next season of the UEFA Europa League into support for access to quality education for young people around the world.

SL Benfica will take on Sevilla FC at the Juventus Stadium in Turin, which will take the number of passes completed during Western Union’s sponsorship term to date to more than 350,000 having reached 170,000 at the end of the 2012/13 season.

The Western Union PASS initiative is not only meeting its objectives in terms of on-the-ground delivery; it is also driving awareness of the global education issue highlighted by the company’s broader Education for Better campaign and attracting some high profile support from within the game. In February, former Brazilian football legend Roberto Carlos met with students supported by UNICEF and the PASS initiative in Istanbul, Turkey. Later that same month, former Eintracht Frankfurt star and Nigerian international, Jay-Jay Okocha, also lent his support. PASS lead ambassador, Patrick Vieira, will travel to Senegal with Western Union and UNICEF immediately after this season’s UEFA Europa League Final to see how the funds donated to UNICEF through the PASS initiative will impact children’s lives and help them complete their education.

“Where I come from, many children face challenges that prevent them from completing school,” explained Vieira, the former AS Cannes, AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Juventus, FC Internazionale Milano, Manchester City FC and French international player, who was born in Senegal before moving to France at the age of eight and is currently manager of the Elite Development Squad at Manchester City FC.

““Football was my ticket to success, but for the vast majority of young people education is the key that allows them to become whatever they want to be. What’s so impactful about this initiative is that what players are doing on the pitch is being translated off it, by Western Union, into funding that will benefit students, teachers and schools across the world. Particularly in places that need it most, like Senegal, so I’m hugely looking forward to travelling back there later this week” said Vieira.

The PASS initiative will run for the three years of Western Union’s sponsorship of the UEFA Europa League through to the 2015 final. Through the program, Western Union is committed to supporting education in select countries around the world.

“Moving money for better is at the heart of what we do as a company, and education is one of the main reasons our customers send money,” explained Diane Scott, Western Union Chief Product and Marketing Officer and Western Union Foundation Board Member.

“Through PASS, we wanted to harness the power of football to build awareness of the global education challenge the world faces as well as deliver on-the-ground support that will make a difference to young people and their communities. That is why it’s been very rewarding to see the education funding being delivered in these countries and why this end of season report is so positive.”

“We are grateful for Western Union’s continued support of UNICEF. This commitment to education will help UNICEF invest in training teachers, and provide vocational and life skills guidance to improve young people’s chances of completing school and successfully transitioning into the workplace as adults,” said Gérard Bocquenet, UNICEF Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships. “We are proud to work with Western Union to help more children access a quality education and provide them with a chance for a better future.”

During the first year, Western Union’s PASS collaboration with UNICEF focused on education programs in Nigeria, Jamaica and Turkey, and education programs will be supported starting later this year in Brazil, Senegal, Morocco and China. Western Union’s funding is supporting activities including teacher training and curriculum development; financial literacy, vocational and life skills training for adolescents; school improvements; eliminating barriers to school access, and more. Funding from the PASS initiative will help enable UNICEF to implement these interventions, aiming to provide access to one million days of education for children.



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