Thursday, November 6, 2014
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently spoke on the topic of "New Aid in a New Age: Understanding International Development" at a sold out event sponsored by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Mr. Kristof was in town to discuss his new book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity which he co-authored with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn. Much of the evening's discussion focused on the education of girls. In describing smart girls as "agents of change", Mr. Kristoff noted that terrorist groups such as The Taliban, ISIS and Boko Haram had good reason to suppress the education of girls. Studies show that the education of girls leads to economic growth, greater participation of women in public life, lower birthrates and greater influence by mothers over their sons. All of these factors decrease the risk of extremism taking hold in a community. While acknowledging the need for military action in battling these terrorist groups, Mr. Kristoff also encouraged leaders to use education and women's empowerment as tools to fight extremism. Describing education as "an escalator out of poverty", he urged attendees to get to work on creating opportunity for all. We at GSG couldn't agree more.