In the aftermath of Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, a program that encouraged developing nations to educate girls, the US commitment to educating girls or even talking about educating girls has gone silent.
Reports in May 2017 were that the Trump administration intended to close down the Let Girls Learn program, launched by the Obamas in 2015 to facilitate educational opportunities for adolescent girls in developing countries. That report in CNN, supported by internal Trump administration memos, was immediately contradicted by other voices in the administration , saying the report about dismantling Let Girls Learn was fallacious.
America’s First Lady Melania Trump made no direct references to girls education —reported in the press or available in a Google search — on her recent trip to Africa. The vast majority of world governments, ngos and even faith leaders believe that educating girls is critical to minimizing terrorism and improving the global economy. The Trump administration has not adopted this point of view, and Melania Trump’s trip to Malawi resulted only in a donation of 1.4 million books under USAID’s national reading program. Note that three times the Trump administration has proposed cuts of 30% of the US Aid program, but Congress has refused to pass the legislation.
For US progressives and concerned activists worldwide, our hopes that Melania Trump would continue a strong commitment to girls education have been dashed. Before we highlight the good news about Michelle Obama and this critical subject, AOC shines a light on the ever-inspiring Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, who picked up Michelle Obama’s mantle around girls education when Markle spoke to students at the University of the South Pacific in Figi Wednesday about the critical importance of education for girls.
The early video minute shows Meghan and Harry pre-speech in Figi.
Meghan said in her warm, personalized remarks, "Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital."
The Duchess of Sussex reminded the world of what every research study on girls education has concluded:
"When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures, not only for themselves but also for those around them."
Markle’s words were so powerful, drawing intense applause, that the host of the event nearly forgot about Prince Harry’s own scheduled speech speech, writes Marie Claire. After a Kensington Palace aide quickly interrupted the initiation of closing remarks, Prince Harry joked with the audience: “I thought I got away with it. No way that I could follow my wife after that.”
When torrents of hate are raining down on our heads in America and the police are tracking bombs targeted to prominent Democrats across the US at this moment, Meghan Markle resets our hopes for a better world — a world where women are empowered.
Just so we don’t think that a global commitment to educating girls is abandoned in America, on October 11, 2018 Michelle Obama also uplifted spirits, announcing on The Today Show for International Day of the Girl that the Obama Foundation has created the Global Girls Alliance.
The Chicago-based Obama Foundation says more than 98 million adolescent girls worldwide don’t go to school. The alliance’s website highlights programs around the world and offers ways for the public to support those programs.
Something tells me that one day soon — although Meghan and Harry’s spring 2019 trip to the US will be rescheduled due to their pregnancy — Meghan and Michelle will be standing on the same stage promoting the promise of girls education. Won’t that be a beautiful site to see!! ~ Anne