Improving Life in the Developing World

Improving Life in the Developing World

Dr. Samantha Nutt is the author of “Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid.”

Physician and humanitarian Samantha Nutt gave an inspiring speech Tuesday about the hardships she has seen in the developing world to an audience of nearly 100 people at the University of Central Florida.

Nutt’s presentation was a feature of the annual Women and Global Leadership forum organized by the UCF Global Perspectives Office in partnership with Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jay Garner. Nutt is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and the founder and executive director of War Child Canada, a nonprofit organization that helps children affected by wars overcome their traumas and lead healthy lives.

Nutt’s speech was based on her experiences on the frontlines of violent conflicts in places such as Iraq, the Congo and Somalia.

Small arms, she said, are more available than drinking water in the developing world. Most of the main suppliers of small arms are developed countries, which Nutt said makes them largely responsible for the killings and cruelties they help inflict.

Nutt’s speech was not without hope. She emphasized that ordinary people can help through the smallest of actions.

She said that volunteers and aid organizations are not wasting their time, and highlighted four steps to help make a difference: knowledge about the problems faced in the developing world; contribution of time and money to legitimate organizations; socially responsible consumer investment; and resistance to the idea that life and loss are more relevant here than elsewhere.

When asked about her personal development as a leader, Nutt said she had started out just doing what she had been trained to do: healing the sick and wounded where she was most needed. After spending time on the frontlines, however, she realized her calling was to mobilize people and bring attention to the serious problems she had witnessed.

In addition to the Global Perspectives Office and Gen. Garner, sponsors and partners of Nutt’s presentation included the UCF Student Government Association, Lawrence J. Chastang and the Chastang Foundation, the UCF Diplomacy Program, the Sibille H. Pritchard Global Peace Fellowship program, the UCF Global Peace and Security Studies Program, the UCF Office of Diversity Initiatives, UCF LIFE, the UCF Book Festival 2012 in association with the Morgridge International Reading Center, the UCF Political Science Department, the UCF Women’s Research Center, the UCF Women’s Studies Program, the UCF International Services Center and the Global Connections Foundation.

For a full list of upcoming events or to learn more about the Global Perspectives Office, visit http://ucfglobalperspectives.org.