Former United Nations Special Envoy Stephen Lewis will not only be sharing his experiences at Miami University in an upcoming lecture-he will also be challenging the community to aid in the fight against HIV/AIDS, poverty and other worldwide problems.
Lewis will present “Time to Deliver: Winning Battle Against Poverty and Disease in the Developing World,” at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 24 in the Shriver Center Heritage Room.
Lewis’ 2005 book, Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa, highlights how the eight UN Millennium Development Goals are not being reached. He is being brought to campus to coincide with the Center for American and World Cultures’ (CAWC) spring lecture series, Diversity: Engaging Your Global Future Now, which is based on the UN Millennium Development Goals, according to Mary Jane Berman, director of the center.
Lewis served as a United Nation’s ambassador for Canada, was the United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from 2001-06, and is currently a professor in global health at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, according to the CAWC Web site. Lewis has also started a foundation in his name that works at the grassroots level to help women and orphans living with HIV/AIDS and people who care for those living with HIV/AIDS, according to the Stephen Lewis Foundation official Web site.
“His credentials speak for themselves … (He) has devoted his whole life to humanitarian causes,” Berman said.
The UN Millennium Development Goal that is going to be the basis of Lewis’ two-fold speech is the objective of trying to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
The first part of his lecture will focus on what the UN has currently done thus far, covering both its successes and its failures. Berman said she expects Lewis to be very candid in his evaluation of the organization’s progress.
The second part of the speech will be framed as a challenge to the university community to become involved in helping the UN’s goal become a reality.
“AIDS/HIV, malaria and Africa may seem far away, but they have a very direct impact on our very lives,” Berman said.
Berman hopes the speech will help Miami students become more globally informed.
The College of Arts and Science and departments such as anthropology, geography, kinesiology and health, political science, sociology and gerontology have all sponsored bringing Lewis to campus.
Because of all of the departments involved, Berman said the CAWC expects several hundred to come to the free event.
“I’m interested in this because, first of all, it’s my dream one day to be an ambassador … also, Mr. Lewis did a lot with HIV/AIDS in Africa and I feel that the problems in Africa are going to be around for awhile so it’s better to figure out what’s been working and not working for the future,” said Katharyn O’Donnell, a Miami first-year student.