History in the Making: Global Leaders Forum
Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, greeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and his wife Yoo Soon-taek at the Global Leaders Forum. Photo by David Russell.
Post by Krisann Vaillancourt-Murphy
As the secretariat for Micah Challenge USA, Bread for the World played a key role in providing the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, with a rare and coveted pulpit last Thursday at the Global Leaders Forum. Convened by Micah Challenge USA and the National Association of Evangelicals, the forum gave the Secretary General the opportunity to address more than 300 religious leaders representing some 44 million American evangelicals.
It was an historic event. At the halfway point in the global campaign to end extreme poverty by 2015, Mr. Ban accepted our invitation to tell U.S. evangelical religious leaders that their involvement could help garner the political will necessary for the United States to do its part to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
For many in the room, it was their first time ever hearing about the MDGs. Mr. Ban highlighted this critical moment when the intention of all of the world leaders to halve poverty by 2015 echoes something of the mind of the Biblical prophets and the teachings of Jesus.
Clearly, these are not ordinary times.
A dozen international religious leaders from the global South flanked Mr. Ban on stage, in front of a world map made up of 30,000 children’s faces—making his call even more poignant. From places like Zambia, Pakistan, Kenya, Palestine – the presence of these global South leaders was a powerful reminder of the billions of people across the global that live on the front lines of poverty – street children of India, people with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe, landless indigenous people on the Mosquito Coast of Honduras, hungry workers in Kenya.
Lawrence Temfwe from Jubilee Centre in Zambia pumped a prayerful fist for us all as the Secretary General cited a passage from Isaiah: “If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”
Although people are lifting themselves out of poverty, the Secretary General got it right: we’re still far from achieving the MDGs. (Read a recent progress report)
This year’s Bread for the World Sunday, Stand Up and Speak Out Campaign, Micah Challenge celebrations—all happening this month—are actions we can take to fulfill our obligations to help meet the MDGs.
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