We here at Spur and the LRC eagerly anticipate the continuation, following a brief respite for the summer, of the Literate Lunches series next week. With our long-standing partners at the Gardiner Museum, on Wednesday September 18th we present Nina Munk discussing her latest book The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty. This work is the culmination of six years Nina Munk spent reporting on the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), an initiative of renowned economist and United Nations adviser Jeffrey Sachs. Ms Munk is an award-winning journalist, a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and previously served as senior writer at Fortune and a senior editor at Forbes. Though now based in New York, we are pleased to welcome her home to Toronto.
The MVP is Sach’s response to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2005 with the mandate of halving world poverty by 2015. The MVP mission is to “address the root causes of extreme poverty, taking a holistic, community-led approach to sustainable development.” The project operates on a 10-year two phase model, in a dozen clusters over 10 countries, with each site located in a distinct sub-Saharan agro-ecological zone. Sach’s model invests a modest per capita amount (US$120) into each community with the goal of facilitating a transition from subsistence farming to self-sustaining commercial activity.
The project has not been without its critics, as indicated by recent articles in the New York Times (with a subsequent response by Sachs) and Foreign Policy. Munk does not shy away from addressing the challenges the MVP has faced—as you can hear in a recent interview on CBC’s The Current. Regardless of how supporters or critics view the project, the discussion alone will keep the issues tackled by the MDG and the MVP in the forefront of public debate—from where they too often vanish. With this in mind, the LRC and Gardiner Museum are very pleased to host just such a discussion next Wednesday. This edition of Literate Lunches is the first of many upcoming events at the Gardiner this fall, including “Diplomacy, Guns and Money, Graeme Smith on the Afghan War,” on Monday, September 23rd—which kicks off the 2013/14 season of “LRC Presents . . .” in association with us here at Spur.
I hope supporters of Spur and the LRC will join us on September 18th for this important conversation.