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2011 HNGR Symposium

An Urban Majority: Responses to Deepening Hunger and Poverty in the World's Burgeoning Cities

Symposium Overview

Symposium Theme
Together with the Wheaton College Urban Studies program, this year's symposium, entitled: "An Urban Majority: Responses to Deepening Hunger and Poverty in the World's Burgeoning Cities," examined the link between rapid urbanization, poverty, and hunger, and highlighted development initiatives that provide opportunities and access to basic resources for the urban poor. We accomplished this through dialogue with development practitioners, policy makers, academicians, and students who are at work responding to these challenges.

Through our symposium plenary and other events, we explored how development initiatives that bring together agriculture, economic development, and political advocacy play an integral role in reducing urban poverty and addressing basic human needs in the world's rapidly growing cities.

Symposium Address
We are pleased to announce that the plenary speaker for this year’s symposium was Oya Hazel Gumede (see right). Oya Hazel rose from an apartheid-era township to be a vibrant young leader in the new South Africa. A lawyer, entrepreneur, and policy maker driven by her strong sense of public service, Oya served in the Office of the First Lady in the Mbeki Administration, has represented South Africa at various UN functions, and is involved in a variety of private sector and social entrepreneurship initiatives. Oya's passion has led her to pioneer strategic legal solutions for the social and economic transformation of South Africa.

Oya Hazel's plenary address, entitled "A New Way of Seeing, A New Way of Being, A New Way of Doing" will soon be available for listening on our website.

Additional Highlighted Events
In addition to the plenary address, many other sessions took place during the two-day Symposium.  With representative case studies from Africa, Asia, and several of American's own urban metropolises, each event explored various factors that influence and perpetuate urban poverty, preventing the poor from having access to the most basic needs. Events also discussed solutions, old and new, that are empowering the urban poor to break the cycle of poverty.

Oya Hazel Gumede gave the Friday morning Chapel Convocation (recording below). Ms. Gumede, distinguished guests, and HNGR alumni  participated together in sessions that cluster around the issues of identity, human need, public health, education and the global church. The sessions were as follows:

  • "Urban Identities: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Finding Common Ground"
  • "Diets for an Urban Planet: The Challenges of Food Quality, Access, and Cost"
  • "Poverty of Voice, Power of Expression: Creativity as Active Response"
  • "What Lies Ahead: Innovative Solutions for 21st Century Cities"

We're glad for those of you who were able to join us for these events!