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Hope

Ruth Kagia: The cup is more than half full

Ruth Kagia

October 21 2016

“It’s when I look at people who have overcome impossible odds that I realize most of us on a day-to-day basis aren’t having to deal with very much.”

How does promoting education and gender equality result in a more sustainable planet? Ruth Kagia, Senior Advisor to the President of Kenya, has a remarkable story of growing up in relative poverty, finding a way to continue her education, and then assuming leadership roles in the World Bank and now with the office of the President of Kenya. 

She shared some of her remarkable vision born of love and respect for the human family and our planet, with Tim Nixon for Thomson Reuters Sustainability, at the second United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.


Tim Nixon for Thomson Reuters Sustainability: It’s a dire world still – there are many, many problems – what gives you hope in spite of that?

Ruth Kagia:

I think the cup is more than half full. If a young girl like Malala can rise above the deprivation of a young woman in Pakistan and become a Nobel Prize winner, it can’t be that dire a world.

It’s when I look at people who have overcome impossible odds that I realize most of us on a day-to-day basis aren’t having to deal with very much more than hearing bad news about some violence there, some fights somewhere, some famine somewhere. But it is, in many, many cases, at an arm’s length from us. That does not minimize the pain of those who are suffering. That does not minimize the suffering, for example, of the Syrian refugees and other refugees elsewhere. But for most of us, it is still at an arm’s length. And –

…I think the challenge for most of us it to broaden that space of where there is peace and security and development, and do whatever is in our means, in whatever positions we are in, to reduce the scope for insecurity, to reduce the scope for eternal strife.

And at the heart of that is core development: just making sure that you don’t make tremendous inequalities in a country such as this one. Education is key to that. Economic opportunities is another, because at the heart of all of this conflict is a feeling of being dispossessed and being marginalized.

So making contributions to anticipate and preempt some of the suffering that we see across the world.

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