‘Each young person has the power to change the world’

Cody Francis

Mandela’s grandson outlines U.N. goals for solving global problems

If the world is to change for the better, young people must lead the way, said Prince Cedza Dlamini, the keynote speaker at Kent State’s University Teaching Conference last night.

Dlamini spoke to a group of students, faculty and community members at the Kiva as part of the 2008-2009 Gerald H. Read Distinguished Lecture Series.

“The goal of (last night’s) lecture is to inspire in students a social consciousness to take with them to whatever they do in life,” said Linda Robertson, director of the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education.

Dlamini is the grandson of Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who fought against apartheid, and is a spokesman for the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals. The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals set by the United Nations in 2000 to improve the world, and half of the them must be achieved by 2015.

The goals are to:

&bull Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

&bull Achieve universal primary education.

&bull Promote gender equality and empower women.

&bull Reduce child mortality.

&bull Improve maternal health.

&bull Combat HIV, AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

&bull Ensure environmental sustainability.

&bull Develop a global partnership for development.

“These goals are the most important goals of our time, and it is up to young people to understand our responsibility to achieve these goals,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini said young people must focus the most on achieving the goals.

10 Things Global citizens can do to change the world:

&bull Get informed

&bull Build awareness through advocacy

&bull Build partnerships

&bull Donate

&bull Volunteer

&bull Appreciate diversity

&bull Global education

&bull Join campaign to end poverty at www.makepovertyhistory.org

&bull Commit to something

&bull Take service trips to Africa

“My goal is to mobilize young people to understand the power they have,” he said. “We have the unfortunate responsibility, whether we like it or not, of dealing with the goals that have been set before us.”

He said it was shocking how many young people, as well as how many older people, did not know these ideas existed. When most people find out about them, they think they are unrealistic to achieve.

“I know it is very ambitious to achieve even one of these goals,” Dlamini said. “But I’m one who sees the glass as half-full. I am here to offer hope to those who see the glass as half-empty.”

He said his most important goal is to combat HIV and AIDS. A native of Swaziland, Dlamini pointed out the effect of these diseases on Sub-Saharan Africa and the world. About 40 million people in the world live with HIV and AIDS, and the diseases are the leading cause of death in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter of crisis,” Dlamini said. “They are not on pace to achieve even one of the goals.”

Dlamini said every person must see himself or herself as a “world citizen” to achieve the goals.

“People must see themselves as a member of the larger global community,” he said. “Not a citizen of their own country, but a world citizen.”

Dlamini repeated the importance of young people in the world.

“Each young person has the power to change the world,” he said. “Partnered with elder experience, participation by young people can ensure our future.”

He offered suggestions for people to get involved, including volunteering, fundraising and donations. He stressed the importance of achieving the goals with a powerful statement.

“If we do not achieve these goals, the world will no longer be sustainable,” Dlamini said.

Contact room and board reporter Cody Francis at [email protected].