RIT hosts screening, discussion of ‘Poverty, Inc.’

The Global Health Association @ RIT will be screening the award-winning documentary Poverty, Inc. and hosting a follow-up discussion panel from 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 26 in the Golisano Hall auditorium. This will be a free event that is open to students, faculty and staff at RIT, as well as the general public.

The documentary, which focuses on the negative effects of the commoditization of global charity, will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by James Myers, associate provost of International Education and Global Programs, and featuring former RIT President Bill Destler, Lecturer Sarah Brownell, Associate Professor Zhi Tang, Assistant Professor John Oliphant and Rashid Muhammad from the Rochester Anti-Poverty Initiative.

Brownell, who has an extensive history of working with charitable organizations in Haiti, said she looks forward to sharing her thoughts on Poverty, Inc. The message of the documentary resounds with Brownell’s experiences, as well as the class she teaches, Engineering and the Developing World.

“There are many different ways of promoting what we call ‘development’ in other countries, but the ideas are all coming from the outside and don’t consider what the affected people in the country want or need,” said Brownell. “We need to consider their plans, hopes and dreams instead of imposing what we think people need. Development has to be a respectful partnership, not a power dynamic.”

Oliphant, who serves as the faculty advisor for the Global Association @ RIT and is a board member and the director of medical and dental operations for the organization Restore Haiti, looks forward to being part of the event. His research has been focused on the best practices for doing medical missions and other development work in countries with lower resources.

“Unfortunately, good intentions are not enough to truly make a difference for those who suffer from the effects of extreme poverty,” Oliphant said. “This event will present proven strategies for poverty alleviation that focus on empowerment and asset-based development.”

The event is being sponsored by the Global Health Association @ RIT with financial support from the local company Udicci that has a focus on socially responsible entrepreneurship.

“We are living in trying times, but we hope and believe that a more prosperous future can be the legacy of this generation,” said Udicci partner Chuck Livecchi.

To RSVP for this event, go to campusgroups.rit.edu/GHARIT/rsvp?id=356555.

global engagement

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