Sachs, a renowned economist who has been on Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders list twice, will speak about threats to democracy at a lecture on Wednesday.

September 9, 2018

Renowned Economist, UN Adviser Jeffrey Sachs to Speak on American Democracy

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Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, economics, Columbia University will launch his new book on foreign policy and chat about American democracy at the Statler Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

The current senior United Nations advisor to the Secretary-General will talk about “Reclaiming America’s Democracy.” His talk will focus on “the threats posed to American democracy by Donald Trump, big money in politics and America’s unending foreign wars,” Sachs told The Sun in an email.

Sachs is a renowned economist who has been on Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders list twice. He is a University Professor at Columbia University, holding the institution’s highest academic rank, and is the director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development.

He also advises United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on sustainability goals, according to a press release from Cornell University.

“There is a better way forward based on the idea of Sustainable Development,” Sachs said. “We can build an American society that is prosperous, fair, environmentally sustainable and at peace with the rest of the world.”

“Yet to do so requires a deep change in our politics and institutions,” he continued. “Most importantly, it requires young people getting involved in politics, starting with voting this fall.”

Sachs believes that the problems of today “require a new generation of leadership from young people with the training and commitment” to solve global problems.

Though he plans to speak to college students around the world, Sachs has made visiting campuses in the New York State a priority because he believes “New York has a great tradition of leading such problem-solving.”

According to Sachs, his upcoming discussion on America, democracy and the current world will be based in part on his new book, A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism. He said he’s “excited” to present the book at a college campus for the very first time.

Christian Elliott, the program and communications associate in the department of development sociology, told The Sun that he hopes the Sachs lecture will help increase civic engagement on campus.

“Cornell as an institution has a lot of responsibility for ensuring that its students become the most well-informed citizens and leaders that we can facilitate,” Elliott said.

He also hopes that people who attend this talk will feel motivated to take action.

“An active citizenship is important for increasing the standard of living, promoting wellbeing and ensuring that people have the freedom they need to pursue a good life,” he said.

People can register to vote at the entrance of the Statler for an hour both before and after the speech, according to Keelin Kelly ’20 and Jenna Oliver ’20, Andrew Goldman Foundation ambassadors.

The Andrew Goodman Foundation “supports youth leadership development, voting accessibility, and social justice initiatives on campuses across the country,” according to the foundation’s website. Students only need to know their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their social security numbers in order to register to vote, Kelly and Oliver said.

Oliver clarified that even though the Sachs lecture is preceded and followed by voter registration, it is not meant to be a partisan event.

“This lecture is not about exhorting the student body to vote one way or another,” she said. “It’s ensuring your votes and voices are heard.”