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Session Spotlight: Greenbuild master speaker Sheryl WuDunn

Published on 25 Sep 2013 Posted in Greenbuild

In the recent couple of centuries, the greatest gap has been between the industrialized and the non-industrialized countries. Over the last two to three decades, that gap has been shrinking dramatically, and now the poor countries are growing much more rapidly than the wealthier countries. The big global story is how much progress there has been and continues to be in standards of living.

Symbolically, China is within a whisper of passing the United States in the size of its economy. How these two interact will be critical in the near future for the global economy and international development.

Our Greenbuild 2013 master series session with Sheryl WuDunn (Senior Managing director at Mid-Market Securities and the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize) will discuss the moral challenge of gender inequity and how it relates to fighting poverty and terrorism. The session will identify some of the major challenges women face today and describe how to make women part of the solution, not the problem.

Greenbuild Program Working Group member Amanda Langweil, Senior Associate at Goshow Architect, picked this as the must-attend session of Greenbuild 2013. Read Sheryl and Amanda’s insights into this fascinating session!

What interests or excites you the most about this session?

Amanda: I read the book Sheryl WuDunn co-authored "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" and watched the documentary on PBS and it was really eye-opening to read about what goes on in non-industrialized countries and what we can do to help. Let's just say I am a huge fan of her work.

Why is the topic of this session so important?

Sheryl: One of the greatest challenges facing the world is how the non-industrialized world will develop their economies to "catch up" to the West. Numerous Asian countries have already done that, with great impact to the built environment, the greater environment at large and the global economy. The West simply cannot ignore advances being made in the non-industrialized world, and if it becomes a partner in that growth, the West will advance as well, rather than decline.

What makes you an expert in this area?

Sheryl: I was a foreign correspondent for The New York Times for nearly a decade in Asia; I wrote two books on Asia and one on global economic development. 1) China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power; and 2) Thunder from the East; and 3) Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. I won a Pulitzer Prize for my coverage of China.

Why should Greenbuild attendees attend this session specifically?

Sheryl: If they like anecdotes packed with facts and insights, then they should come to this session. If they don't, they can go to another session.

Amanda: I think Sheryl WuDunn is going to be an amazing speaker and I'm really looking forward to it. If you want to learn more about the progress that have been made to the standard of living in non-industrialized countries, and more importantly what additional changes and progress need to occur, this is the session for you.

How do you interface with this topic or issue in your work or home life? Have you had an experience related to this issue or topic that you would like to share?

Amanda: As an architect and working for a firm that works in the public sector, I think it is important for our industry to recognize the need of those less fortunate and find ways to provide our services to help. I've worked on several socially responsible projects including Hurricane Sandy relief projects and low income housing.

What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had in the green building/sustainability world?

Sheryl: Sustainability is a broad category, from how China created a sustainable path toward growth to helping impoverished women become empowered to sustain their own livelihoods. I have seen these and other dimensions of economid development and sustainability.

Interested in creating the education program at Greenbuild? There are numerous Committees and Working Groups that you can join. The 2014 Call for Expressions of Interest is open from October 7, 2013 and ends November 29, 2013. Learn more about the application process beginning October 7.

1 commentLeave a comment

Program Innovation Manager, Global Communities (formerly CHF International)
Definitely a "must attend" session. Creating sustainable jobs for women is something we all can support. The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition recently praised Half the Sky, including Global Communities' work with women entrepeneurs in Liberia through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative - http://www.usglc.org/2013/08/19/the-promise-of-women-entrepreneurs-aroun...

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