Gordon Brown is to become the UN's special envoy for global education.
The former prime minister, who is MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, will lead a campaign to ensure every child is at school by the end of 2015.
He will accompany UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on a tour of Asia in August, as part of his new position.
Mr Brown said his appointment was a great privilege, adding: "Ensuring that every child in the world has the opportunity to go to school and to learn is a long-standing passion of mine, and I aim to learn from other special envoys such as (former) president Clinton, Kofi Annan and Ray Chambers.
"Education breaks the cycle of poverty and unlocks better health and better job prospects."
Mr Brown said that meeting the goal would require enrolling an additional 61 million children in school.
"It will not be easy - but it is a goal which, working together, we can achieve," he said.
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