I’ve got this friend. He’s from Pakistan, recently categorized as a “least developed” country on the Human Development Index (HDI).
When we first met, I was sure he was American. His English was perfect, and he seemed to know all the ins and outs of US pop culture — even holding his own in a discussion of obscure characters from Disney movies. On top of that, he could name more US government officials than most Americans I knew.
But as it turned out, this was his first-ever trip outside Pakistan.
I was eager to ask him how he could know so much about the United States and relate so easily to Americans after only a few days in the country.
“It’s globalization, dude,” he said.
Since 2002, the number of global Internet users has nearly quadrupled. Technology is making a tiny little world out of us — a world that can see more easily than ever beyond the barriers of national boundaries, personal backgrounds, language and development rankings like the HDI. And international partnership seems more natural than ever.
But our fellow youth around the world are crippled by massive unemployment rates—as high as 60 percent—that threaten to leave them immobilized and discouraged in their most productive years of life. A country can’t develop while the incredible potential of its young people is squandered.
This week, Bread for the World Institute launches its 2013 Hunger Report, Within Reach—Global Development Goals. With just three years to go before the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) deadline, the report lays out an aggressive plan for what should come next. Generating opportunities for global youth is absolutely essential to that plan.
What does the 2013 Hunger Report prescribe for a post-2015 world? This concept: one size does not fit all — every country will have its unique demons to face in driving its own development. But country-owned goals must be backed by a set of values that cross the borders: a relentless focus on hunger and nutrition, strategic use of social safety nets, sensitivity to climate change, rock solid data, and commitment to diverse partnerships. This is no longer just about rich countries and poor countries—it’s about a developing world.
About Derek: Derek Schwabe is the Hunger Report Fellow at Bread for the World Institute. He is a recent graduate of Houghton College where he studied international relations and Spanish. In May, he returned from Sierra Leone, West Africa, where he was part of a supply chains research team for World Hope International’s Mango Outgrowers Project. Prior to Bread for the World Institute, Derek worked at USAID and the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission where he focused on issues of climate change and the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa.