26 January 2021 | “The United States of America’s reputation as a shining light for the international community has been dimmed in recent years. The world has watched as our country repeatedly withdrew from positions of global leadership and turned inward,” said Michael Kruger, president of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in the opening of a Newsweek opinion piece published this week.

The Adventist leader applauded the Biden administration’s promise of the “reassertion of global leadership, a renormalization of diplomacy and alliances and the promotion of human rights abroad,” calling this kind of emphasis “a welcome focus for our foreign policy.”

In the Newsweek piece titled “COVID-19 Will Leave Millions Without Education. America Can Change That,” Kruger drew attention to the fact that January 24 was International Day of Education.

He pointed out the global education deficit that COVID and financial roadblocks have caused is “one of the most important yet underreported challenges the world is facing.”

Kruger said almost 1.6 billion students in more than 190 countries, across each continent, have been affected. He stated that COVID-related challenges to education in the form of school closures and other problems had affected 94 percent of the global student population – up to 99 percent in low- and middle-income countries.

“In 2015, leaders from 193 countries came together and set a global goal to have children receive quality primary and secondary education by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. The most significant barrier in seeing this goal achieved is finance. UNESCO estimated that prior to the pandemic, even after lower- and middle-income countries double their education finance, there would remain a $39.5 billion-per-year financial gap that would need to be filled by donors.”

Kruger called on the United States to take a lead in funding this financial gap. He said doing so would be one of the “most profound ways the U.S. can reassert its global leadership….”

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