Washington, DC - On October 9, 2020, the Global Campaign for Education-US and partners from the global education community honored Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and her legacy of improving education around the world. Among her many achievements, Congresswoman Lowey led international education funding increases and authored the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act, which was signed into law in 2017 and established access to quality basic education in developing countries as a key objective of U.S. foreign policy. Congresswoman Lowey will be retiring at the end of this session after 32 years in the U.S. Congress. A diverse array of advocates, stakeholders and beneficiaries offered remarks and accolades at this virtual event moderated by Raj Kumar, President and Editor-in-Chief at Devex.
Global Campaign for Education-US Youth Leader Shruti Nallappa said, “Among her many achievements, Representative Lowey led the charge to increase funding for international education from $67 million when she entered Congress to $975 million in the House of Representatives’ FY20 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. Thank you, Representative Lowey, for being a great leader and inspiring me to become an advocate for ensuring education for all." Click the image below to watch her segment:
Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai reflected on her first meeting with Congresswoman Lowey on Capitol Hill in 2017 and feeling encouraged by the Congresswoman’s advocacy for girls’ education. “We discussed the barriers that prevent more than 130 million girls from their education and also talked about what we can do to ensure all girls can go to school. I left that room with hope. There are still so many things that need to be done. We need to ensure change in the education system, in the economies, in the political system that we live in, so it works for girls, not against them.”
Congresswoman Lowey’s fellow Members of Congress joined to share their memories of working alongside the congresswoman. The bipartisan group featured numerous State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Members, including Rep. Frankel (D-FL), Rep. Meng (D-NY), Rep. Lee (D-CA), Rep. Price (D-NC), and Rep. Torres (D-CA), as well as Rep. Jeffries (D-NY) and Rep. DeLauro (D-CT).
Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL), Co-Chair of the House International Basic Education Caucus, emphasized, “It has been an honor to serve in the House with Congresswoman Lowey and serve alongside her on the International Basic Education Caucus. Education is not only a critical issue here in the United States, but one of the most important initiatives that we pursue abroad. Supporting basic education supports international growth and strengthens the US’s standing around the world. No one understands this better than Congresswoman Lowey. Throughout her career she has prioritized education and led the way for so many of us who have come after her. Our responsibility now is to continue her mission in the years to come.”
House Appropriations Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-TX) stated, “I learned so much from Mrs. Lowey over the years….one of the issues that she brought to my attention is how important it is to invest in educating women and girls around the world. Improvements in basic education would not have been possible without Nita’s tireless efforts and insistence that funding was prioritized regardless of who was in the White House.”
World Vision Young Leader Lamia, age 16, from Bangladesh offered these powerful words, “I truly believe that if a child gets quality education, he or she will be able to stand on her own feet, become independent, and solve her own problems....I would like to call on leaders of governments, organizations, and the private sector to come forward and extend support to the most vulnerable families and ensure child education.”
As the event concluded, Congresswoman Lowey imparted these final words, “I can’t tell you how much this means to me, I am so touched and honored. I would especially like to thank my colleagues...but none of the achievements were made alone. Everyone here today cares deeply about ensuring that children everywhere have an opportunity to receive a good education. All of us have kept the momentum going in this effort. I am so grateful for the work that all who appeared today do and continue to do. Although I’m retiring I will continue to champion global education.”
The global education community will miss her greatly in Congress and will strive to continue her work to provide access to a quality education for all. The event was jointly organized and co-sponsored by the Basic Education Coalition, Education Cannot Wait, Global Campaign for Education-US, Global Citizen, Global Partnership for Education, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Malala Fund, RESULTS, Save the Children, UNICEF USA, World Learning and World Vision US.
For more information, please contact Jennifer Rigg, Global Campaign for Education-US Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-765-2251.