Inequality: challenging an assumed reality

This is the title of the International Development Conference being organized entirely by students of Newcastle University. The organizers are not your ‘typical’ group of students reading pure politics and development studies. We are a group of diverse individuals studying a large range of subjects; music, geography, languages and, of course, some politics and development studies too. However, we have come together because we all share one thought: the amount of inequality in the world is unbearable. The comforting veil of childhood naivety is long gone, and we have been forced to open our eyes and look around our not so rose-tinted world. And to be honest, we don’t really like a lot of what we see.  Many things shock, upset and anger us.

Consequently, we are organizing a conference to raise awareness about some of these issues. The international development conference will provide a platform for stimulating debate and discussion amongst students, academics and members of the public. It will bring together experienced speakers in the form of global charity organizations, academics and journalists.  Speakers will include Bill Kerry, co founder of The Equality Trust; John Hilary, the Executive Director of the charity War on Want; Dr Paul Roux, a senior paediatrician in Cape Town, and Kathrin Hartmann, a German journalist (as well as many more).

The conference will enable guests to analyse inequalities in the world, looking at race, gender, health, youth and debt amongst other themes. The opinions and actions of the speakers will hopefully inspire guests to think about the issues raised, and demonstrate things that can and should be done.  We want the day to have a hopeful theme: our intention is not to knock the world and brand it unsalvageable, but rather to inspire anybody who cares to think about things a little bit more.

We will also be analysing what ‘international development’ means, and according to whom.  (Even amongst the small group of organizers we have very conflicting opinions). The event will take place at Newcastle University on the 26 February 2011. Tickets are £5 students and £7 non-students. Anybody is welcome.  

Visit for more information.

Karina Robertson
is a New Internationalist reader.

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