Hope College will feature the address “Rx: Prescription for Latin America” by Jason Beaubien, global health and development correspondent on the science desk of National Public Radio, on Monday, Feb. 6, at 1 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall through the Great Decisions Global Discussion Series of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan.
The public is invited. Admission is free.
The council’s Great Decisions Global Discussion Series highlights the most critical global topics facing Americans for the year as chosen by the Foreign Policy Association in New York City. The council brings experts to West Michigan to discuss the topics, with presentations at Hope in the afternoon and at Aquinas College in the evening.
Beaubien, who will also be speaking in the Performing Arts Center at Aquinas in the evening, reports on a range of health issues across the world. He’s covered mass circumcision drives in Kenya, abortion in El Salvador, poisonous gold mines in Nigeria, drug-resistant malaria in Myanmar and tuberculosis in Tajikistan. He was part of a team of reporters at NPR that won a Peabody Award in 2015 for their extensive coverage of the West Africa Ebola outbreak. His current beat also examines development issues including why Niger has the highest birth rate in the world, can private schools serve some of the poorest kids on the planet and the links between obesity and economic growth.
Prior to becoming the Global Health and Development Correspondent in 2012, Beaubien spent four years based in Mexico City covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In that role, he filed stories on politics in Cuba, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, the FMLN victory in El Salvador, the world's richest man and Mexico's brutal drug war.
For his first multi-part series as the Mexico City correspondent, Beaubien drove the length of the U.S./Mexico border making a point to touch his toes in both oceans. The stories chronicled the economic, social and political changes along the violent frontier.
In 2002, Beaubien joined NPR after volunteering to cover a coup attempt in the Ivory Coast. Over the next four years, he worked as a foreign correspondent in sub-Saharan Africa, visiting 27 countries on the continent. His reporting ranged from poverty on the world's poorest continent, the HIV in the epicenter of the epidemic, and the all-night a cappella contests in South Africa, to Afro-pop stars in Nigeria and a trial of white mercenaries in Equatorial Guinea.
During this time, he covered the famines and wars of Africa, as well as the inspiring preachers and Nobel laureates. Beaubien was one of the first journalists to report on the huge exodus of people out of Sudan's Darfur region into Chad, as villagers fled some of the initial attacks by the Janjawid. He reported extensively on the steady deterioration of Zimbabwe and still has a collection of worthless Zimbabwean currency.
In 2006, Beaubien was awarded a Knight-Wallace fellowship at the University of Michigan to study the relationship between the developed and the developing world.
Beaubien grew up in Maine, started his radio career as an intern at NPR Member Station KQED in San Francisco and worked at WBUR in Boston before joining NPR.
Hope is an educational partner of the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan, which is dedicated to educating people in western Michigan about other countries and cultures of the world, as well as providing a forum for discussion of critical foreign policy issues. In existence since 1949, the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan is a non-partisan, non-advocacy educational non-profit organization. With 60 member companies and almost 3,000 members, it is considered one of the best councils in the national network of 100 World Affairs Councils.he council’s Great Decisions Global Discussion Series will feature a total of eight addresses on Mondays between February 6 and April 3, with additional topics including nuclear proliferation, and the complexity of U.S.-Saudi and U.S.-China relations. Six of the events will take place at Hope, and all eight will take place at Aquinas College. There is a $10 admission charge for the events at Aquinas.
Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets. The Aquinas College Performing Arts Center is located at 1703 Robinson Rd. SE in Grand Rapids.
Photo credit: Doby Photography