Summer School Diary - Day Eight

Written by Kim Lan Mallon

Jan Vandemoortele gave two lectures about tackling inequality in the morning session of day eight of the UNU-CRIS Summer School. His aim was to highlight the trend of rising inequality around the world, and how this negatively impacts people at all levels of society.

He started off his presentation with a brief summary of progress on the MDG’s, particularly highlighting the success of more than halving mortality rate for children under the age of 5. Dr. Vandemoortele summarised MDG progress as “progress for better-off people, stagnation for the poor, regress for the planet.”  He noted that it is for this reason that the SDG’s focus heavily on addressing environmental concerns.

Dr. Vandemoortele believes that inequality no longer simply implies that the 1% can afford luxury goods that others cannot. He argued that as money can now also buy power, the effects of inequality are exacerbated. He also noted that inequality adversely affects all of society, not just the worse off, because income inequality increases social and health problems in a society. Further, countries with lower inequality generally have higher social mobility and healthier and happier people.

In the first session after the lunch break, Marvi Memon gave a lecture via Skype about female empowerment and social safety nets, using examples from her foundation’s work in Pakistan. Then, for the final afternoon session, Madeleine Hosli gave an introductory lecture about the European Economic and Monetary Union.


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