The University Record, November 8, 1999

Experts to discuss implications of six billion people on Earth

By Amy Reyes
News and Information Services

On Oct. 12 the world population reached 6 billion. In 50 years, some population experts predict that number could grow to as high as 10 billion. So, where do we go from here?

That question is the focus of a Nov. 11 panel discussion at the School of Public Health. The event will feature four internationally recognized population experts who will discuss, “The World at 6 Billion: Where Do We Go From Here?”

The panel discussion is co-sponsored by the Population Fellows Program and the Population Studies Center. It will be held 2–4 p.m. at the auditorium, School of Public Health.

Presenters include Joseph Chamie, director, United Nations Population Division; Ronald Freedman, professor emeritus of sociology; Allan Rosenfield, dean, Columbia University School of Public Health; and Sara Seims, incoming president, Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Chamie, an expert in population estimates and projections who has been with the U.N. for 20 years, will speak on “6 Billion: How Did We Get Here?” and “Where Are We Headed?” He has worked on health and family planning programs in rural India; has taught university courses in population; and has served with the U.N. Population Division in Beirut, Lebanon, and at its headquarters in New York.

Chamie has contributed a great deal to the U.N.’s influence in the population arena, says Jason Finkle, professor emeritus of public health and a leading scholar of the politics of population.

“Under Chamie’s leadership, the Population Division has achieved world prominence, not only for its data collection and population projections, but for calling attention to emerging world population issues, such as low-fertility societies and rapid urbanization in the developing world,” Finkle says.

Rosenfield and Freedman will present their views about “6 Billion: What Does It Mean?” Rosenfield, an expert on women’s reproductive health, will address the implications for public health of a growing world population.

Rosenfield, who received his M.D. from Columbia University, followed his residency in 1966 with a year as an obstetrics and gynecology instructor at a teaching hospital in Nigeria and then served as medical adviser for the family planning and maternal and child health program of Thailand.

Freedman, the founding director of the Population Studies Center and professor emeritus of the center, will discuss his views on the social implications of current population trends.

Freedman is an expert on demographic transitions in which countries move from high rates of birth and death to low rates. He has studied the role of public policies and family planning programs in populations’ reproductive behavior and has written extensively on the subject with particular emphasis on Asia.

Seims, who will moderate the discussion, is the incoming president of the Alan Guttmacher Institute, an organization specializing in reproductive health research, policy analysis and public education.

She was associate director of population sciences at the Rockefeller Foundation, in New York, where she worked with nations on programmatic and policy issues relating to reproductive health. For three consecutive years, Earth Times identified her as one of the key players in sustainable development. Seims is an expert in fertility research and in international reproductive health programming.

The Population Fellows Program at the School of Public Health provides overseas internships and service fellowships to individuals launching careers in international population assistance. The Population Studies Center of the Institute for Social Research is a training center for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral researchers in social, economic and anthropological demography.