Searching for a Window of Hope: Overcoming Poverty, Hunger & Disease in the 21st Century


  • Nicholas De Torrente, Executive Director, Medecins Sans Frontieres, United States
  • Dr. Ebby Elahi, Director, Mount Sinai-NYU, Hospital Eye Care Services
  • Dr. Desmond Johns, Director, UN AIDS, New York Office
  • Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the UN
  • Dr. Christopher Murray, Director, Harvard University, Global Health Initiative
  • Dr. Agostino Paganini, UNICEF, Team Leader, Emergency Operations

Considering the remarkable strides in technology and telecommunications over the past decade, it is somewhat difficult to fathom that at the turn of the 21st century, millions of men, women, and children across the globe continue to be deprived of basic human necessities such as food, shelter, and clean water. In Southern Africa alone, as many as 14 million people—half of them children—are currently in danger of starvation. Is it really feasible to speak of economic and social progress in our global village when more than 20,000 people are still dying of hunger everyday?

While globalization has enriched people’s lives and enabled them to connect in ways never before possible, it has also exacerbated the growing economic disparity between the western world and so-called third world countries. With inadequate funding and scarce resources, how can we overcome the endemic corruption, disease, and deprivation that plagues such countries? Recognizing the inevitable effects of the interdependence engendered by globalization, how can we realign our perspective such that these core issues become universal problems requiring universal solutions rather than merely humanitarian concerns for a few devoted but underfunded agencies?