2008: Addressing Global Challenges: 100 Years and Beyond

International Week 2008, a signature centenary event and centenary award project, featured a number of centenary award projects that received funding from the Centenary Planning Committee through a university-wide competition.

International Week 2008's theme, Addressing Global Challenges: 100 Years and Beyond, called us to celebrate the University's engagement and contribution to resolving global issues as well as setting before us the urgency and challenges we face as a global community.

Kofi Annan once said:

"Scientists tell us that the world of nature is so small and interdependent that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon rainforest can generate a violent storm on the other side of the earth. This principle is known as the 'Butterfly Effect.' Today, we realize, perhaps more than ever, that the world of human activity also has its own 'Butterfly Effect'-for better or for worse."

What effect do individuals, communities, polities and institutions have on the world in which we live? Where does historic responsibility for the current state of the world lie? How has our understanding of and response to global crises evolved, and what impact will today's choices have on the world we leave to the next generation?

The tools at our disposal offer us unprecedented capacity to help and to harm. There is an increasing need for us to critically examine the ways we think of issues such as epidemics, peace and security, human rights and the environment. Approaching these issues with the knowledge that we are all active agents of a common global future is key.

This centenary program aimed to delve into the world's most pressing issues, incite enthusiasm for new solutions and encourage people to be conscious of their roles as global citizens.

Featured guests:

  • Nike Okundaye, renowned Nigerian textile artist and founder and director of the Nike Centre for Arts and Culture
  • Sima Samar, Chairwoman of the Independent Afghanistan Human Rights Commission
  • Paul Farmer, Presley Professor of Medical Anthropology at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of non-profit organization Partners In Health
  • Jody Williams, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for tireless and successful efforts to ban and clear landmines
  • Jeffrey Sachs, international economic advisor, Director of the Earth Institute, and author of The End of Poverty
View the 2008 International Week Program