A Salute to Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s Legacy for Children

October 20, 2020

Members of Congress, USAID, international NGOs and youth advocates staged a virtual tribute event honoring retiring Rep. Nita Lowey and her work to improve education around the world. 

On October 9, UNICEF USA and other members of the global education community joined together to honor retiring Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and her legacy of improving education around the world. Over the course of her 32 years in the U.S. Congress, Congresswoman Lowey spearheaded efforts to increase funding for international education and authored the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act, which was signed into law in 2017, establishing access to quality basic education in developing countries as a key objective of U.S. foreign policy. 

During her 32 years in the U.S. Congress, Rep. Nita Lowey spearheaded efforts to increase funding for international education

Several 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. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), Rep. David Price (D-NC), and Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), as well as Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). 

UNICEF's Executive Director Henrietta Fore (bottom row) and other organizational CEOs share memories with Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)

Figureheads from the global education community were also on hand to reflect on Congresswoman Lowey’s impact for children around the world. UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore offered this tribute: “Nita, you made the world a better place and there are millions of lives helped because of you … It has been a joy to work with you, it’s been an honor and a privilege. You are one of the great lionesses of the Hill … We know your love of education will remain undimmed.”

You are one of the great lionesses of the Hill," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. "We know your love of education will remain undimmed.

As the event concluded, Congresswoman Lowey shared 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 ... 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. But while I’m retiring at the end of this term, please know I will continue to champion global education and I know that all of you will too in all the days ahead.”  

UNICEF USA staff and supporters visit the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) on UNICEF's Advocacy Day in 2019. © UNICEF USA

UNICEF USA thanks Congresswoman Lowey for regularly meeting with constituents, especially UNICEF UNITE club members. In her role as Chairwoman of the full House Appropriations Committee and State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, UNICEF USA is tremendously grateful for the Chairwoman’s support for international basic education funding and the voluntary U.S. government contribution to UNICEF. 

To continue Congresswoman Lowey’s work to ensure access to education for children around the globe, urge your Senators to pass the Keeping Girls in School Act

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Top photo: At a virtual tribute to retiring Congresswoman Nita Lowey (top left) on October 9, 2020, speakers included (clockwise from top center) Devex President & Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL), Rep. David Price (D-NC) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL).