Universiteit Leiden

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Global Challenges Lecture: Poverty

  • Dick Wittenberg
woensdag 3 februari 2016
Anna van Buerenplein
Anna van Buerenplein 301
2595 DG Den Haag
Auditorium (2.21)

Poverty has been the natural state of mankind. It's an overwhelming fact: the number of people living in extreme poverty is still about the same as it was two centuries ago: roughly one billion. A much smaller percentage of the world population now than it was back in 1800, but still a massive one billion. So, the massive decrease of extreme poverty is one of the major achievements in modern times. 

One billion people in extreme poverty, it’s simply too abstract, too big to imagine. That’s why Dick Wittenberg went for research to a hamlet in the small African country of Malawi. To learn what extreme poverty does to individual people’s lives. He can tell what extreme poverty looks like. He can show the faces of extreme poverty. Over the last ten years extreme poverty has decreased in this hamlet. How has this been achieved? What were the limits and the setbacks of this progress? Is it possible to end poverty by 2030 as the United Nations is aiming for? How? And why should the world care?

Dick Wittenberg (1953) is a senior journalist and writer. The Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad employed him for over thirty years as a reporter, UK correspondent and editor at the foreign desk. Since 2013 he writes for he online background platform De Correspondent. Recently he published the book Het gezicht van de armoede (The face of poverty) about daily struggle in an African hamlet in cooperation with photographer Jan Banning.

Language: English

This lecture is a co-production of Studium Generale and Leiden University College.

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