Eradicating Global Poverty

I’ve spent this past week thinking a lot about poverty on the local and global levels.

I was privileged to serve as host to Dr. Donald Lee, a retired United Nations economist and expert on global poverty issues. He visited West Texas A&M University to speak about the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals and how much progress countries have made toward achieving them.

At the turn of the new millennium, the leaders of many nations came together to create a global partnership to “reduce extreme poverty” across the globe, and 2015 was set as the deadline. In fact, this effort set eight goals to achieve:

1) End Poverty and Hunger
2) Universal Education
3) Gender Equality
4) Child Health
5) Maternal Health
6) Combat HIV/AIDS
7) Environmental Sustainability
8) Global Partnership

As you might imagine, some countries have made significant improvements on several of these goals while others have not. The truth of the matter is that overcoming poverty is an incredibly difficult proposition.

Dr. Lee had some interesting thoughts about it. Poverty is a man-made problem, he said, so it is possible for people to solve it. He also made a distinction about these goals. This is not an effort to alleviate poverty; it is an effort to eradicate it.

His visit energized me and my fellow faculty members in WTAMU’s Department of Communication to the point that we’ve already started talking about organizing an event to recognize International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which occurs every October 17.

It’s important to recognize poverty not as an abstract concept but as a real, and solvable, problem. And I believe that all global problems are, at their essence, local problems first.

I’ll keep you posted on our efforts.

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