'Real poverty is despair and hopelessness, and it is also a moral issue', said Professor Brink (the new Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University). 'Universities should take part in these issues, and I am pleased to have joined an institution that is taking a moral stand against poverty'.
Last Tuesday I joined the World Poverty Day walk, which started at Newcastle University, walked through the city centre and ended at the Millennium Bridge. The university reported it thus:
Students and staff have marked the official United Nations day of action for the eradication of world poverty, known as World Poverty Day, with a 'stand up and speak out' event on the University campus.
The event was organised by Nicola Martin, President of the Union Society's U8 International Development Society, and Ethics and Environment Officers, Katie Whitehouse and Jen Miller.
World Poverty Day 2007 was designated as a day of action in support of the United Nations Millennium Campaign to promote fulfilment of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Around 100 students and members of staff, many of them wearing white T-shirts, the symbol adopted for the day, listened as Dr David Golding, co-ordinator of Make Poverty History North East, spoke about some of the progress that has been made towards alleviating the problems of the world's poorest nations, and the work which is still to be done, quoting notable anti-poverty campaigners including Bono and Nelson Mandela.
Nicola Martin then invited the gathering to speak out for each of the Millennium Development Goals as placards bearing the aims of the MDGs – to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; to achieve universal primary education; to promote gender equality and empower women; to reduce child mortality; to improve maternal health; to combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases; to ensure environmental sustainability; and to develop a global partnership for development – were held aloft.
The event was attended by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Brink, who commended the assembled campaigners and said he wanted to give them his personal support, as well as that of the University.
'Real poverty is despair and hopelessness, and it is also a moral issue', said Professor Brink. 'Universities should take part in these issues, and I am pleased to have joined an institution that is taking a moral stand against poverty'.
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