Global Inequality Conference Offers Opportunities for Student Engagement and Solutions

Policy; Social Work; Students

From October 26-28, 2017, the Brown School Office of Global Programs and Research and the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies partnered with the Washington University School of Arts & Sciences and Career Center to host the second annual Global Inequality Conference.

“The goal of this event was to provide opportunities for the university community to learn about, discuss and engage with evidence and experiences on the challenges of persistent inequality around the world today,” said Carolyn Lesorogol, Brown School professor and associate dean for global strategy and programs.

Professor James Midgley from the Graduate School at University of California, Berkeley provided the event’s keynote address. Midgley has published widely on issues of social development, international social welfare and social policy. Among his most recent books are Social Development: Theory and Practice and Social Welfare for a Global Era: International Perspectives on Policy and Practice.

Additional panels from scholars and practitioners working on inequality at local and global levels, as well as student research presentations, offered ample informal interactions among participants. A student case competition also provided conference participants with an opportunity to investigate workable solutions to global challenges. Nine interdisciplinary student teams received a case on water and health issues in the Lake Victoria basin in East Africa, from the point of a view of a non-governmental organization in Shirati, Tanzania. They then had three hours to during the competition complete their five-minute presentation before delivering it to a panel judges.

“With the case, we challenged students to think holistically about the challenges of poverty, inequality and environmental justice and propose strategies that are culturally sensitive, realistic and feasible,” Lesorogol said.

The winning team—which included Brown School MSW ’18 students Bin Chen, Lillian Fang, Yinran Huang, and Zhaoyang Xie, as well as Arts & Sciences student Serena Seoyeon Choi —received $750 and will go on to represent WashU at the International Emory Global Health Case Competition in March 2018.