Oaks Park students also had their horizons widened in a fascinating lecture on Friday 6th October, given by Professor Lawrence Haddad, an economist who is highly-regarded in his specialised field of Development. He explained the serious issue of malnutrition, which now affects half of all the world’s children; this includes not just those who are impoverished and under-fed, but also those who are malnourished because their high-calorie, nutrient-poor diet causes them to be obese and at risk of developing many serious health conditions.
A key message given to the students in this fascinating, passionate lecture was that they can all make a positive difference to this terrible situation by educating not only themselves and their families about it, but by being organised and active in many different ways.
The students were surprised to learn that Professor Haddad’s research team has produced statistics that have convinced many governments and large organisations to help in the fight against malnutrition. One such statistic was that for ever $1 governments invest in overseas aid to help with malnutrition, they get back $16 in overall economic benefit.
He described how his own personal journey into this field was driven not by his doctorate, but by his trips to third world countries as a young man, where he was deeply shocked and moved by the terrible hardships that so many people faced; people without a voice, without the power or resources to change their situation themselves.
As a result of his visit, Oaks Park is shortly to launch our Development Project, where all interested students can come together and organise their ideas to help make a difference to the malnutrition epidemic that has engulfed the world. Professor Haddad has pledged that he will gather an expert panel who will come and see the work produced by the contributors to the project, and who will give advice on how to improve, to have maximum effect for the good. We will keep you updated on the project’s progress.
Students gathered to ask questions afterwards to find out more about how they could get into the field of Development, and the Prof gave lots of great advice. One student said, “I just found it so inspirational, and it has really made me want to make a difference to people who need help”. Another student commented on the fact that her family had seen this kind of impoverishment in their village and that she had seen it first-hand on a visit abroad so see them; she plans to do something to help a cause so close to her heart.