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Combating poverty, nations focus on goals

By Ashley Schreyer

“In order to take action, you need to be aware.”

This was the advice Lauren Kaplan, senior sociology and women’s and gender studies double major, gave to a small group of students who attended the “Solutions to Global Poverty — And What You Can Do” presentation on Wednesday, Nov. 14, in the Spiritual Center hosted by The Millennium Campus at the College.

The film presentation and panel discussion were focused around Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, a list of eight objectives focused on ending poverty. The goals were created in 2000, with 189 countries agreeing to this shared vision of development.

The mission of the partnership is to achieve the following MDGs by 2015:

  • Cut in half income poverty and hunger
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental stability
  • Develop a global partnership with targets for aid, trade and debt relief

The presentation began with a 30-minute video, “Life,” outlining the eight MDGs, how they are important, and obstacles in the way of successfully meeting their goals.

After the film, the faculty panel invited to discuss the topic of MDGs brought to light a setback to this global fight to end poverty. Morton Winston, a philosophy professor, commented on the fact that the film was made in 2003, before the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. Winston explained that after the crisis, countries turned inward and were not willing to spend money on foreign development.

Other faculty members also shared their opinions on MDGs and the film. Marla Jaksch, an assistant professor of women’s and gender studies, felt the goals were an “innovative framework that make gender salient.”

The second half of the presentation consisted of a discussion of what students can do to make a difference in global poverty.

Brian Potter, assistant professor and International Studies Director, felt one of the most important things students need to do is fact check. The film threw around several numbers and statistics, which Potter feels students should be researching and discovering for themselves.

After the panel, the students broke out into discussion groups focusing on how to make a difference, but some students were left wondering.

“I have a concern where the other goals are at,” said Shannon Kane, junior history major. Winston said during the panel that the first goal was achieved, but as the 2015 deadline nears, neither the film nor panel shared whether the goals will all be reached.

“I guess there’s a lot we can do,” said Danielle Blackmore,  sophomore English and women’s and gender studies double major, but some students left the presentation wondering what that was.


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