Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and business executive Sheryl WuDunn ’81 will deliver the 2016 Jill and Ken Iscol Distinguished Environmental Lecture, “Navigating Environmental and Economic Conflicts in China and the World,” Wednesday, April 20, at 5 p.m. in the Klarman Hall auditorium.
As one of Newsweek magazine’s “150 Women Who Shake the World,” China watcher WuDunn advocates for sustainable development, economic and environmental justice, and human rights. Her New York Times coverage of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests earned WuDunn and her husband, Nicholas Kristof, a Pulitzer Prize.
A third-generation Chinese-American, WuDunn was the first Asian-American Pulitzer Prize winner – and the Times’ first Asian-American reporter. Today, WuDunn raises capital for entrepreneurs in alternative energy, social enterprise and new media at a boutique investment-banking firm in New York.
WuDunn and Kristof’s 2014 best-seller, “A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity,” describes people who are making the world better and how we can help build solutions to global challenges.
“We all strive to improve our lives – to climb up the economic ladder and raise the standard of living for ourselves, our families and those around us. The same is true everywhere around the world, including China,” said WuDunn in a summary of her upcoming lecture.
“With economic development and increasing wealth, however, come increasing environmental burdens. In China, air, water and soil pollution have soared. Small particles make the air hard to breathe, rivers are so filthy they sometimes no longer flow, and even a large portion of the soil, which nurtures the nation’s food, is contaminated,” she said.
WuDunn asks: “In the United States, decades of strong growth have created the wealthiest nation on Earth. What burdens come with that increasing wealth? And what can ordinary people do to navigate the inevitable trade-offs between a healthy environment and a more comfortable standard of living?”
The Jill and Ken Iscol Distinguished Environmental Lecture brings scholars, scientists, newsmakers and opinion leaders to Cornell to address environmental issues of paramount importance to the planet. Hosted by the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, the Iscol Lecture recognizes interdisciplinary scholarship on the frontier of scientific inquiry and provides opportunities for Cornell students, faculty, staff and the public to gain new knowledge about pressing environmental issues.