The Quest to Reduce Extreme Poverty

Current trends in international development with Jackie ALDRETTE, Managing Director AVSI-USA;  Chris BLATTMAN, Professor of Political Science, Columbia University; Joakim KOECH, Principal, Cardinal Otunga High School, Nairobi, Kenya;  and Paolo CAROZZA (moderator), Director of the Kellogg Institute at Notre Dame University. This event is organized in collaboration with AVSI USA

What does it mean to promote “development” and where do we place our hope for “success”?

The desire to make a positive contribution in the lives of others leads people into careers spanning economics, social services, education, health, and public service, all spurred by a desire of happiness that comes through service toward another.  Yet, the world we live in is harsh, and this noble and beautiful desire is often reduced. It is reduced when work is separated from human experience, with its own desire, and the need for happiness is poured into helping others. It is reduced when the ultimate goal is narrowed down to the satisfaction of material needs, or to power.  Furthermore, it is reduced when frustration seeps in and one is overwhelmed by a sense of impotence in front of an utterly complex set of inter-related problems.  Falling into these traps risks burn-out, disillusionment and lowered expectations.

The panelists share their personal experience about what has driven their commitment to the field of international development, what they learned from failure and from success, and what energizes them to stick with it despite the challenges and immensity of the task.

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Cover image:
"Sleeping Beggar, Havana", Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut), Date: 1933, Medium: film negative.  To learn more about this piece see: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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