Kikwete - who was honoured by Theirworld for his outstanding contribution to global education – succeeds Julia Gillard as Chair of the GPE.
It works with more than 70 partner countries to transform their education systems and has helped 160 million children, more than half of them are girls to go to school.
Kikwete said: “I will seek to build on the legacy handed to me. But I will also fly with my own wings to support the GPE Board and the partnership in meeting the ambition that it set out for itself both in the GPE 2025 Strategy and at the Global Education Summit.
“We owe this to the millions of children - boys and girls - around the world who now, more than ever, are facing immense challenges in accessing quality education. We should not and cannot fail them.”
Kikwete was President of Tanzania from 2010 to 2015. He became a special envoy for the influential Education Commission, leading high-level delegations to 14 African countries.
In 2017, Theirworld and our initiative, the Global Business Coalition for Education presented him with a Certificate of Inspiration award at an event in New York.
As he took over at GPE this week, Kikwete paid tribute to former Australian Prime Minister Gillard, who served as the organisation’s Chair for seven years.
Kikwete said: “Julia Gillard has flown with remarkable wings as she led the GPE Board through a period of transformative change. There is no doubt in my mind that, because of her leadership, GPE is now seen as a key - if not “the” - player in the international education aid sector.”
Gillard said: “As a result of the work of GPE and so many across the global education community, we have seen the focus on education grow over time.
“At this year's Global Education Summit, the highest-level political support for education was evident as countless leaders raised their hands for education and specifically pledged to set GPE on a path to raising at least $5 billion over the next five years.
“The summit was an important success for the millions of children and young people around the world whose education has been upended by the pandemic, and a critical step to ensuring that education is at the heart of our response and recovery.”