“The Lottery of Life”

This past February, Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, famous for their eye-opening book and documentary entitled, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” came to Lehigh to give a lecture at the Zoellner Arts Center called, “Why Sudents Need to Care About Their World and Change It.”  Although many in the audience found the lecture to be rather disappointing, largely due to its idealized and romanticized nature, I found one particular aspect of it to be fascinating.  Kristoff told the audience, the vast majority of whom were Lehigh students, that simply by being in the audience, we had won “The Lottery of Life.”  This is something I have personally thought about on many occasions; the ability to receive such a high education is simply lucky, due to the fact that I was born in the United States and have the means to obtain one.  Others, such as those born into poverty in developing countries, do not have this opportunity through birth.  In other words, one might claim they have not won this “lottery of life.”

Kristoff went on to say that it is our responsibility, as those who have won this “lottery” to help those who have not.  With an education comes action.  I believe this action should be aimed towards evening the playing field of the world, so that those born into poverty may have an equal chance at obtaining an education, following their passions, and dedicating their life to something they truly believe in.

~Soraya Todd


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