President attends Higher Education Summit For Global Development
Wed, May 14 2008
LeTourneau University President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford was one of only 200 American and foreign
university representatives invited to attend the first-ever Higher Education Summit for Global
Development in Washington D. C. recently, sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
The purpose of the summit was to promote the partnership of higher education institutions in
worldwide social and economic development.
“I am honored that LeTourneau University was invited to participate in this esteemed
gathering, which included the world's greatest universities, the president Rwanda and five members
of U.S. President Bush's cabinet, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,” Lunsford said. “We
understand at LeTourneau that the development of human capacity is not just an intellectual or
social exercise. To make real improvements to the quality of life globally requires also spiritual
growth. The developing world certainly needs opportunities to provide all basic food and
water, but they also need the Bread of Life -- Jesus Christ.”
At the summit, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt said that “hope”
was the core business of the United States around the world and that the American people should
work to provide hope to the hurting in the developing world.
Lunsford gave LeTourneau University’s LEGS program (LeTourneau Engineering Global Solutions)
as an example of the kind of sustainable work that higher education institutions should pursue to
benefit millions of people in the developing world. LEGS provides low-cost, durable prosthetic legs
to amputees in developing countries. Many of the 6.4 million amputees in developing countries are
condemned to a life of poverty because they have lost a leg. Unfortunately, there is no financial
profit in serving these people and so artificial limb manufacturers have ignored them.
“LEGS is a wonderful example of providing hope in a very tangible way that makes this
temporal life better and hope for an eternity of peace and fellowship with God,” Lunsford said. “
Let's not just send engineers to the developing world, let us also develop a generation of
engineers or teachers or entrepreneurs who will sustain the progress. Social and physical
infrastructures are needed in developing countries but even more needed is human capital.”
The university’s LEGS team is serving in Bangladesh, Kenya and Sierra Leone this summer to
continue its efforts to make a difference across the globe.