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ADRA Europe first online Education Summit

The conference was organized as a follow-up to the petition that has collected more than 1.3 million signatures.

ADRA Europe first online Education Summit

Bern, Switzerland.Andreas Mazza, EUDnews.

ADRA Europe carried out its first online conference, entitled “Education Accelerator”, on April 20. This event aimed to provide a platform for an international and inclusive dialogue where people from across the world could contribute to a broad vision for educational excellence and equity for all children.

The conference was organized as part of ADRA global Advocacy Campaign, “Every child. Everywhere. In school.” and as a follow-up to the petition that has collected more than 1.3 million signatures.


At the most fundamental level, the world has still not achieved the commitment made by the world governments to provide access to education for all children. While there has been remarkable progress worldwide in giving millions of children, including girls, access to primary education, millions of children never receive any schooling, especially girls and children, in conflict zones.

The summit

The program was divided into three sessions. Experts, innovators, thinkers and decision-makers came together to explore and accelerate schooling opportunities for all children.

Maja Ahac, ADRA Europe Head of Advocacy, introduced the event giving a warm welcome to all speakers and participants. The first to be introduced was  Raafat Kamal, President of the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and ADRA Europe Board Chair. “Children need education in order to fulfill their God given potential”, he said. “We have to focus primarily on girls, refugees and children with disabilities, because they represent the most marginalized groups.” Kamal continued his speech by showing some worrying data and statistics regarding global education: “262 million children have currently no access to education, that is 1 out of 5 children are out of school. In developing countries, 90% of children with disabilities don’t go to school.”

Victor Negrescu, member of European Parliament and Vice-chair of the CULT Committee, talked about European actions and policies for inclusion and equity in education. “The European Parliament is addressing this important issue and we all are aware of the fact that no child has to be left behind”, started Negrescu. “Education is linked to our future and we need to raise the quality of our education in Europe”. Negrescu concluded by saying that “the European Union is collaborating with organizations like ADRA to develop adequate action plans regarding education”.

Samuel Muthamia, Education Project Manager of ADRA Somalia, addressed the issue of girls’ access to education, preventing child marriage and providing safe school environment. “Girls’ education is important, because it decreases the possibility for girls being trapped into a child marriage and increases chances for a healthier life. Through education, girls can build a better future for themselves, for their families and for the community. Muthamia concluded by saying: “Education reduces inequality and helps girls to fulfil their potential.”

During the summit, Gershon Nimbalker, policy Expert and Author of the Global Education Report reminded the audience that “conflicts and wars are a huge barrier to education. Conflicts lead to destruction of educational infrastructure and push children out of school. Nimbalker also stressed that “just 2.7% of humanitarian aid goes to education.”

Irena Joveva, member of the European Parliament and member of the CULT Committee, addressed the issue of European actions and policies for inclusion and equity in education in post-pandemic times. “The Pandemic has been a great shock for children and young people”, so Joveva. “The Covid-19 crisis has changed our educational process and accelerated the digital transition”, continued Joveva. “In this new digital context, the EU will strongly support initiatives and plans that aim to guarantee access to the educational system for all”, concluded Joveva.

João Martins, ADRA Europe Director, concluded the summit by thanking all the speakers and participants for their excellent contributions. “We received good food for thought and great input! We can do some change, but we can do it only if we do it together!”

About ADRA

ADRA is the global humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—part of the 20-million strong Adventist community, with hundreds of thousands of churches globally and the world’s largest integrated healthcare and education network. ADRA delivers relief and development assistance to individuals in more than 118 countries—regardless of their ethnicity, political affiliation, gender or religious association. By partnering with local communities, organizations and governments, ADRA is able to deliver culturally relevant programs and build local capability for sustainable change.

To learn more, go here (ADRA International) and here (ADRA Europe).