The United States has "failed miserably" to share its wealth with others in the world, Jimmy Carter told 2,700 attending the Nobel Peace Prize Forum held at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., Feb. 20-21.
"The greatest challenge that the world faces today is the growing chasm between rich people ... and the poorest people, and it's growing," the former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner said. "The ratio is just past 75 to 1, which means that the average person in a rich country makes $75 more per day than the people in poorest countries."
More than half of the world's 6 billion-plus people live on less than $2 per day; 1.2 billion people live on less than $1 per day, he said. He asked the audience to imagine how they could survive on $1 per day.
"That includes shelter, food, clothing. And as you can quickly see there is nothing left over for an education, health care, self-respect or hope," Carter said.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian prime minister and former World Health Organization director general, said politicians must face up to significant environmental and health challenges or face an uncertain future. She cited threats including HIV/AIDS and issues of food security.
"This is not a worst-case scenario," she said. "It is where we are headed today unless we take action."
Eboo Patel, executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, told the audience that "U.S. citizens have the ability to "move the creation into the vision of the Creator."
"How do you become the best you can be and give that gift the best way you can?" he asked. "Love what you do. Try to give it as a gift to the world as broadly and widely as you can."
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers