by Stephen Moseley
What I am most grateful for is the confidence to believe I could navigate in my career among many different issues and disciplines to address real life problems anywhere in the world.
I have had the opportunity to help colleges and universities develop all over the world – in African, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East – and to help countries expand the access and quality of education for primary; and secondary education systems and to adopt new health methods in some 100 plus countries. While not everything was successful, the world has, in fact, made significant progress in those social, economic and development spheres.
Just to cite two of many indicators of positive changes since my early years of work in development: Most of the deans and senior faculties of the 25 principal African universities in 1967 were expatriates from the US, the UK, France and Germany, among other countries, because the potential new African faculties and university leaders were studying abroad in order to return with new master’s and doctoral degrees. In fewer than 20 years, many more African universities, both public and private, were operating successfully and are today, with over 85% of their faculty and nearly all of their senior administrators and deans from their own countries and from other parts of Africa, alongside now a healthy mix of only 10% to 15% international faculty.
Primary schools in Africa and many other developing countries in the 1970’s until the mid-1990’s had only an average of 20% to 30% of school-age children enrolled in grades 1 through 5. Today, there is nearly a 90% average enrollment rate and almost an 80% graduation rate in many of those same countries. Now there is more than 60% high school attendance in many countries, with almost equal levels of school attendance and graduation of girls in urban and many rural areas.
These changes are a reflection of what can be achieved when societies and countries work together on common social and economic development on a sustained basis in any given 15 to 20 year period.
Since my retirement some nine years ago, I have become engaged as an almost full-time volunteer and the current president of the U.N. Association for the National Capital Area, which is devoted to reaching more middle and high school students and citizens and policy leaders in Congress to better understand, recognize and support the many critical roles played by the U.N. to protect peace, conduct peace building to prevent violence, advance human rights, and protect the environment, including combating climate change, as well as to support more equitable economic development for all, including women and other populations so often discriminated against.
Some of the U.N.’s missions to achieve dramatic improvements for the next 15 years are today being challenged by our own U.S. administration calling for 25% to 30% budget cuts this year for international affairs, development and humanitarian aid programs, including those at the U.N. that address the most vulnerable populations globally in every region.
Fortunately, the most recent U.S. Gallup polls from last week report that more than 65% (a growing percentage) of the public fully support U.S. engagement to keep the U.N. strong and effective, and our Congress on a bi-partisan has kept the U.S. engagement in these global development budgets fairly to meet the global goals. They seem to see such long-term human development investments as also meeting our own security needs together with other nations.
I hope that in the years to come, the University of Hartford and all of you will continue to define the education programs in the Liberal Arts and Sciences for the current and next generations to become even more engaged in global cooperation to support everyone’s social, economic peace and justice needs.
Stephen F. Moseley is President of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area. A graduate of the University of Hartford, he was honored by the university’s College of Arts and Sciences with an Alumni Award, presented on March 26, 2019, where these remarks were delivered at campus ceremonies.