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Advocacy group calls to end extreme poverty within one lifetime

Traveling presenter for the Global Poverty Project, Meg Watkins, spoke Thursday night in Betts Theatre at an event hosted by the GW chapter of the ONE campaign. Becky Crowder | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Jeffrey Williams

The world could see the elimination of extreme poverty in the next three decades, an international advocacy group said Thursday.

Leaders of the Global Poverty Project came to campus this week as part of its “1.4 Billion Reasons” tour – a project named for the number of people living on less than $1.25 per day – to urge students to help break the poverty cycle in the world’s poorest countries.

“For the first time in history, it is actually possible to see the end of extreme poverty,” Meg Watkins, a traveling lecturer for the nonprofit, said. The recent Yale University graduate led the hour-long multimedia presentation stressing urgent action to improve living standards worldwide.

The presentation included clips from leaders including President Barack Obama, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and philanthropist Bill Gates, stressing the need to reduce corruption, eliminate trade barriers and provide sustainable foreign aid to eventually meet the most basic needs for all people.

“We know that conflict, climate change and disease affect everybody the world over,” Watkins said. “That means we all have a responsibility to see that everybody on this planet can live happily and healthily.”

Young activists are leading the movement, which was inspired by former Vice President Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” and trekking across the U.S. to spread their message. Watkins and her team will make stops at more than a dozen colleges this month, urging others to take up the cause.

GW’s chapter of the ONE campaign, an international organization created by activist and U2 front-man Bono, brought the presentation to campus.

“Simple lifestyle changes can make a difference,” Morgan Weil, a junior involved in the ONE campaign, said.


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