Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Conference Addresses Eradication of Poverty

Students from area universities convened in the Intercultural Center on Saturday as Georgetown played host to “Our Generation, Our Responsibility,” a conference promoting the illennium Development Goals outlined by the United Nations.

The conference was open to the general public and featured workshops on the Millennium Development Goals, a series of proposals outlined by the U.N. to eradicate world poverty by 2015. Participants also had the chance to meet with approximately 25 non-governmental organizations, including Bread for the World and the African Immigrant & Refugee Foundation.

The Millenium Campaign, a U.N. initiative to raise awareness of the Millenium Development Goals in the United States, awarded the conference a $4,000 grant.

Amanda Gant (SFS ’07), the coordinator of the conference, said that contacting students from other universities and bringing them to campus was the most difficult part of planning the conference.

“It was really hard for me to reach out and find people at other universities to be workshop coordinators,” she said. “We ended up doing that by reaching out to student groups such as AIDS group chapters.”

Gant began exploring the idea of holding a conference to raise awareness of the Millenium Deveolopment Goals this spring, and began planning shortly thereafter. She said that her primary motive for organizing this conference was to bring people together.

Becky Bavinger (COL ’06) and Caroline Pang (SFS ’07) helped Gant organize the conference.

“Becky, Amanda and Caroline put their heart and souls into [the conference],” said conference participant Surabhi Mathur (MSB ’06). “Because of them the conference ran so smoothly.”

Tracy O’Dowd, the leader of Amnesty International at Catholic Univeristy, moderated a workshop on hunger and poverty and said that it was a success.

“It went very well,” O’Dowd said. “A lot of people came out. We had informative exercises and dicussions.”

Gant said she was impressed by the enthusiasm and the exchange of ideas between participants. “People were really trying to be impacted in a deep way. People were really enthusiastic,” she said.

Bavinger said she was impressed by the conference’s keynote speaker, Carol Bellamy, president and CEO of World Learning and former executive director of UNICEF.

“[Bellamy] was amazing and we had some people ask really intelligent questions,” Bavinger said.

Georgetown UNICEF president Jaqueline Smith (COL ’06), who assisted Gant in organizing the conference, also said she appreciated Bellamy’s insights about her own experience.

“She addressed how powerful youth can be . I admire her dedication to the cause and the fact that she worked in both the private and public sector,” Smith said.

Gant said that the most important aspect of the conference was the cooperation that it encouraged between service groups because so often people feel conflicted by their loyalities to various service organizations.

“The cooperation brings a different element to service and advocacy culture,” Gant said. “Our Moment is really transpantable to other campuses, and what we hope to do is work together to set up a template at Georgetown and transplant it to other campuses.”


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