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Semester at Sea's 2012 Short Term Voyage Focuses on the UN Millennium Development Goals in Latin America

Cuna women selling “molas” near Panama City’s principal tourist port. Tourism is often perceived as a route for national development. Peter Sanchez (2007 SAS summer voyage).

The Semester at Sea 2012 Short-Term voyage to five countries in Latin America will focus on the United Nations Millennium Development goals. In 2000, 189 countries committed themselves to achieving the following eight goals by the year 2015:

  • Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  • Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
  • Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
  • Goal 5: Improve maternal health
  • Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  • Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
  • Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

A number of targets exist for each goal to assess whether or not the goals are being met, for a total of 48 indicators that will measure the targets.

This commitment to comprehensive human development by almost all of the world’s nations signifies a near global consensus that all human beings have a right to at least achieve their basic needs. The 2012 Short-Term voyage will provide a unique opportunity to see on a first-hand basis how close the countries of Latin America, but more specifically Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru, have come to achieving these laudable goals. Each class in the voyage will include a hands-on faculty-led project that will focus on one of the eight development goals, so that students will actually see how some of these goals can be met or are actually being met.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) recently reported on the status of the eight goals: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/millennium_development_goals/html/ . Although some progress has been made, there is lots of room for improvement. Three years away from the year that the goals are to be met, too much is left to be done. The millennium goals are vitally important and most of the world supports the effort. What is needed is greater awareness and concerted action.

Anyone who is interested in global development, from minimizing hunger, to improving health care, to protecting the environment, will find the 2012 short-term voyage a tremendous opportunity to better understand the possibilities and problems of global development.

Peter M. Sanchez is professor of comparative and international politics at Loyola University Chicago and will teach the one-hour seminar, “Latin America: The Quest for Development in the New Millennium,” on the 2012 Short-Term voyage.

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