by Kate Belohlav, research associate, International Programs
On the opening day of Seventh Annual PopPov Conference on Population, Reproductive Health, and Economic Development, Hans Rosling gave a presentation on a “Fact-Based Worldview.” After having watched several of Rosling’s TedTalks and having heard about his dynamic presence, I was excited to finally see him in person. Rosling, co-founder of the Gapminder Foundation and award-winning lecturer, calls himself an “edutainer,” but still I wondered if I would be entertained in an hour-plus talk at a research conference. Of course, I was proven wrong, and the dynamic Rosling left me both entertained and educated.
Rosling captivated us with facts, figures, vignettes, and presentation slides. He opened his talk reminding us of the need for well-designed presentations, with a simple, but often-forgotten principle: If you can’t read your slides from the back of the room, then you shouldn’t use them. He demonstrated his superb communication skills and his dedication to furthering the foundation’s mission “to fight devastating ignorance with a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand,” using rich graphics about current population trends, future projections by region, and compelling stories and facts that would cause most individuals to question their own views.
After showing these graphics, Rosling posted this question: why do we add the small yet loaded prefix to the “world” when describing certain regions? Why do we in the (self-labeled) “developed” world insist that the other 85 percent be called the “developing world”? Shouldn’t the majority simply be called what it is: the world? See his TedTalks for more on the topic. His presentation was so easily understood—something that we should all strive for when making our own presentations.