Professor, City and Regional Planning
Distinguished Chair in Global Poverty and Practice
Education Director, Blum Center for Developing Economies
The start of the new century is marked by the emergence of a remarkable global conscience about poverty. If the 1980s sounded the euphoric theme of free market capitalism, then by the end of the 20th century, the persistence of poverty became amply evident and was taken up as a problem by institutions of development, from the World Bank to the United Nations.
Poverty action though is no longer confined to the centralized edifices of development; it is now widely dispersed, broadly owned, and a matter of everyday concern for a generation that has come to be known as the “millennials.” It is they who seek to “make poverty history.”
At the Blum Center for Developing Economies, we have asked ourselves this question: what is the role of a world-class research university in creating platforms of critical thinking and action for the “millennials,” specifically in relation to the global problem that is poverty?
To this end, the Global Poverty and Practice Minor is an intervention. It seeks to transform the do-good voluntarism of millenials into sustained engagement with the structural causes of poverty and inequality. It seeks to empower millennials to promote new ideas of social justice and social change, to fight and win the battle of ideas in spheres of public debate.
At a time when industrialized nations are mired in economic crisis, it seeks to connect local and global struggles around poverty, from the Central Valley of California to the slums of Mumbai. And finally, the Global Poverty and Practice Minor seeks to transform the world-class research university of the 21st century into a place where creativity and innovation emanate from its 21-year olds, the millenials.
It has been my great privilege to be associated with this endeavor. I hope you will enjoy reading this newsletter as we detail some of our work.