Rev. David Beckmann, author of Exodus from Hunger and a noted expert on hunger and poverty issues, talked with Newman freshman and also made a presentation to the larger Newman and Wichita communities Oct. 6 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center.
The second lecture was open to the public.
Beckmann told his audiences that great strides have been made in overcoming hunger and poverty.
“The World Bank estimates that in 1990 there were 2 billion people in extreme poverty, by which they mean people living on less than a dollar and quarter a day,” Beckmann said. “That number has now dropped to 1 billion people. That’s still too many people, but there has never in the history of the world been this kind of progress against poverty.”
He admitted that Americans do not realize how much progress has been made in reducing poverty in the world.
“In our own country, as wealthy as we are, we have made relatively little progress against poverty in the last 40 years,” he said.
Beckman also shared that local charities and governments, especially the U.S. federal government, need to play dual roles to successfully solve hunger in the United States and around the globe.
In talking about the organization Bread for the World, of which he is president, Beckmann explained how every day individuals can reach out to their government representatives and make an impact.
“Our experience is that relatively small groups of concerned people who contact their senators and representative on issues like these can win,” Beckmann said.
Beckmann’s book Exodus from Hunger was the “freshman read” at Newman this year; all Newman freshman students are required to read the book and take part in hunger-related activities.
Beckmann has been president of Bread for the World since 1991. As president of the hunger-advocacy organization, Beckmann has led large-scale and successful campaigns to strengthen U.S. political commitment to ending hunger and poverty throughout the world.
See highlights from his evening lecture in the video clip below.