SEATTLE — Globalization has brought the world much closer, including the issues that plague those in developing countries. Helping people who don’t have access to a quality education becomes a higher priority for all world leaders. However, the U.S. role in global education lacks the strength and support it requires to effectively play a role in foreign relations. Universal education is necessary for a sustainable future, so the U.S. should establish its foreign agenda accordingly.
The U.S. people have spoken, and more than half of the public says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago. Known as one of most influential nations in the world, the U.S. role in global education has the potential to refocus other nations’ resources and energy toward these issues.
U.S. policy currently addresses sustainable development in accordance to the United Nations, but questions arise of how listed goals are implemented into action for members. The U.N. Agenda 21 states that the objective of sustainable development is to integrate policies to achieve greater social equity.
The U.S. values of freedom and tolerance go hand-in-hand with global education reform. Discrimination based on gender, religion or ethnicity hold many of the world’s young people back from attending school. The victims of discrimination lack the basic skills and knowledge they need to progress society in a positive direction. As a basic human right, education is the key way for people to become active participants in the transformation of their societies, locally and globally. The U.S. cannot think about its own future and that of the global community while leaving the impoverished and undereducated behind.
Universal education wouldn’t just help impoverished students, it would also benefit U.S. interests. Exclusion from school not only thwarts children’s individual potential but also fuels intergenerational cycles of poverty and disadvantage. Societies cannot grow or develop, nor can they reduce tensions that spark violence. Working toward equal learning for all children would fuel the U.S. economy and job market as well as reduce world violence and terrorism. Those who are educated can actively participate in economic growth and peaceful relations, creating a world society that is best for all.
Although the U.S. is a key member of organizations like UNICEF and UNESCO, the U.S. role in global education isn’t often a focus of the foreign affairs budget. Education might not innately be a political issue beyond a country’s borders, but knowing the consequences that come from ignoring the undereducated, global education should be included in the foreign affairs conversation.
A country cannot sustainably act in isolation of all the outside factors affecting every global citizen. If the opportunity arises, the U.S. should become more invested in global education. While the direct benefits might not be immediate for U.S. citizens, they are well worth the costs.
– Allie Knofczynski