Commentary

The times, they are a-changin’

POSTED AT 09:17 PM ON Jan. 20, 2009 

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I always tell my friends that I should have been born in the 1960s. Better yet, I should have been born in the 1950s so I would have been a college student in the 1960s. I say this not only because of my admiration for musicians Bob Dylan and Neil Young but because I have always wanted to be part of a historic social and political movement.

The ’60s represented a movement when people eagerly took to the streets, spoke out against war and suffering, expressed themselves through poetry, music and politics instilled in me the sense that people can revolutionize the course of history.

As a senior at IU, I decided that even though my birthday was about 40 years too late, I can still be a part of a movement to create change in this world. I took this dream to Washington and had the life-altering experience of interning with the United Nations World Food Programme, an organization dedicated to the fight against global hunger. I have to admit, I felt intimidated to work in an organization that feeds an average of 100 million people throughout the world each year.

When I learned there are close to a billion hungry people in the world and that nearly 25,000 people die each day of hunger and hunger-related ailments, I was shocked. That’s about the entire undergraduate population at IU during my freshman year. When I learned there are 59 million primary school-aged children who go to school hungry every day, I felt overwhelmed. But then I was filled with hope to learn it costs a mere $0.25 cents to feed a child for one day, a modest investment with huge rewards.

It wasn’t until after my internship with WFP ended that I was able to really appreciate the efforts of those I worked with – the individuals who made me realize that although the world hunger situation is complex, hope remains. People have the power to create a world where every person has access to adequate food and nutrition.

I’m proud to be at school in Indiana, a state whose leaders are part of the movement to relieve global hunger. Sen. Dick Lugar recently introduced a food security bill that would establish a Cabinet-level position to address global security, and WFP’s former Executive Director James Morris is a graduate of IU.

Throughout my internship last fall, I became part of a social and political movement: the movement to end global hunger. For President Barack Obama, the rising number of desperately hungry people in the world should signal an urgent need to increase emergency spending on life-saving food, strategic U.S. food assistance and investing in agricultural research and development. I believe Obama’s campaign demonstrated he can excite the minds, hearts and wills of Americans to solve even the worst manifestations of hunger in the world.

With one child dying of hunger every six seconds, there’s no time to waste in getting started.

 

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