Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day

Each year, Blog Action Day brings together thousands of bloggers from across the globe to raise awareness of important issues facing our planet and our people. This year's theme is POVERTY. Today, bloggers everywhere are writing about how they see poverty, what they are doing about it, and what other people can do to help.

I would say that I've studied poverty, but that would be somewhat inaccurate. It's more like I've come up against poverty in nearly every research project that I've put my nose to here at the Korbel School. In my work on comparative democratization in particular, I've found that it is a matter of utmost importance.

Poverty retards development, increases political instability, reduces quality of life, and distributes misery and hopelessness. Its chronic nature undermines many honest efforts to improve the condition of those affected by it. But too often, poverty is portrayed as a faceless phenomenon; at its worst simply an economic concern, at its best an abstract human rights issue. I am especially excited with the work that The 1010 Project is doing in this field. (Disclaimer: I work with them.) Our work is not simply about eliminating poverty. At The 1010 Project, we work to show the very human side of poverty; to give a face to a global issue.

On days like this, when bloggers everywhere are addressing the importance of poverty, we should all be mindful in seeking ways in which we can also help break the cycle of poverty. Whether it is big or small actions, we can all do something. Thank you for joining me on this day.