Tickets sold out and lines arched around the sidewalk of Memorial Auditorium at 11:15 am on Thursday, November 10th. Students, members of the community and professors impatiently waited on the famous former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, for his talk on food security and the measures that must be taken in order to alleviate this expedient problem.
His humble composure, Morgan Freeman looks, and soothing voice brought the audience in and created a moving atmosphere to take his message in and want to act on behalf of it. Annan spoke with confidence and ease, highlighting the problems related to the lack of food available to many of the 7 billion people who inhabit our earth. He explained the necessity of needing to make sure staple foods are produced by local farmers and that food is effectively pushed through to civilians. He insisted on the need of collaborations between individual efforts and policy makers to work with governments to ensure maximum efficiency. All of these solutions are wonderful, yet over-arching; all of these solutions must be enacted, but the question is how?
Although I was incredibly excited to hear Annan talk, I was disappointed by the lack of concrete and practical methods mentioned. Creating umbrella generalizations is useful to give an over-arching idea of the problem. However, I was constantly wondering: what types of policies? How do we work with government officials who many not have the same ideologies as us? How do we do all this? With what resources? From what angle?
Many presentations regarding heavy weighted global issues have the same problem. We are able to identify the major concerns and the most efficient, yet general solutions to solve these obstacles. However, we are unable to convey the specific components of these solutions and how these must be enacted in order to really achieve a difference. I was hoping to hear Annan speak on a deeper level, really giving the audience insight on what we can really do. I would have liked to hear him speak of the efforts that have to be made on a local level in these starved communities. I would have liked to hear him speak of the specific government interventions that must happen in order to eliminate the agricultural corruption in certain African countries.
Regardless, we must thank the former UN Secretary General for dedicating his time to educating us on this issue, expanding our knowledge and giving us the humble opportunity to listen to a man who has made an impact on 21st century efforts in the realm of health and peace-making.