US Education Policy

Leading in a Time of Crisis: The Heightened Education Gap

May 22, 2020  • Aspen Global Leadership Network


The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the education gap that affects students globally. This is especially visible for underserved communities around the world. What happens when the schools close? How do we come up with a working alternative that serves all students? How will the pandemic reshape education?

Watch AGLN Fellows Aditya Natraj and Patrick Awuah in a conversation moderated by Tina Fernandez as they share their knowledge in combating the global impact of COVID-19 on education.


  • Patrick Awuah, President, Ashesi University, Africa Leadership Initiative – West Africa, Class I 
  • Aditya Natraj, Founder and Director, Kaivalya Education Foundation, Kamalnayan Bajaj Fellow, Class V
  • Moderated by: Tina Fernandez, Executive Director, Achieve Atlanta, Pahara – Aspen Education Fellowship, Class XIV

Patrick Awuah is founder and president of Ashesi University in Ghana which is striving to educate a new generation of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders in Africa. He has been recognized for his leadership, including being named a Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, as a 2015 MacArthur Fellow, and as a recipient of the John P. McNulty Prize, which is awarded to a Fellow using their exceptional leadership abilities, entrepreneurial spirit and private sector talents to address the world’s toughest challenges. He holds bachelor degrees in Engineering and Economics from Swarthmore College, and an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Patrick is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Africa Leadership Initiative – West Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Aditya Natraj is the founder and director of Kaivalya Education Foundation (KEF) and the Piramal School of Leadership. KEF supports large scale systemic changes in public education systems in India through leadership development of State, District and School leaders. KEF works with 15,000+ education leaders across 14 states in India – directly affecting the lives of 5 million children across 50,000+ schools. Aditya is a qualified Chartered Accountant, a Masters in Economics and has an MBA from INSEAD. Aditya is an Ashoka Fellow, an Echoing Green Fellow and a Kamalnayan Bajaj Fellow. Aditya also serves on the governing board of the Quality Council of India, the Akanksha Foundation and Bridgespan India. Aditya was awarded the Times Now Amazing Indian award in the Education category.

Tina Fernandez has spent her career in the legal and education sectors and has been involved in several social-entrepreneurial ventures. Currently, she is the founding executive director of Achieve Atlanta whose vision is that Atlanta be a city where race and income no longer predict postsecondary success and upward mobility. She is a Fellow of Class XIV of the Pahara – Aspen Education Fellowship, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and a member of the Aspen Corps of Moderators.