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Parents Organizations’ luncheon speaker shares surprisingly hopeful world news

Progress is possible and the world has made great strides over the past 20 years. Sharon Avery, UNICEF Canada’s chief development officer delivered that message of optimism and hope at the well-attended Parents’ Organization/Prep Parents’ Organization luncheon on Friday, May 13. (Avery is married to journalist Simon Avery ‘85.)

Avery cited heartening statistics that showed the astounding progress made in, for example, vaccination. In 1980, 50,000 children died each day globally of preventable illness. Just 16 years later, that figure was down to 16,000, thanks in large measure to organizations such as UNICEF.

“If they can set goals to get a man to the moon in 15 years, why can’t we set those targets to erradicate child poverty?” she says.

She gave a great list of take-aways for parents to inform their kids about world issues, saying that the media can’t be counted upon to get out the good-news stories about the progress that’s being made in the world today. Her tips included listening to podcasts from authoratative news sources on road trips.

Here’s the quiz she gave gathered guests, most of whom would say they’d answer differently once they’d heard her informed and empassioned message of hope:

1)What percentage of adults in the world today are literate: a) 80 b) 60 c) 40?

2) On average, in the world as a whole today, men aged 25-35 have spent eight years in school. How many years on avergae have womenin the same age group spent in school? a) 3 b) 5 c) 7

3) In 1950 there were fewer than one billion children (aged 0-14) in the world. By 2000 there were almost two billion. How many do UN experts think there will be in 2100? a) 4 billion b) 3 billion c) 2 billion
4) In the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has … a) almost doubled b) remained more or less the same c) almost halved

5) What percentage of the world’s one-year-old children is vaccinaated against measles? a) 20 b) 50 c) 80

ANSWERS: 1. a) 2. c) 3. c) 4. c) 5. c) Questions courtesy of Gapminder.org
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