New Honorary Doctors Lecture on the Importance of a True World Image

10/10/2018

The New Honorary Doctors of the University of Skövde, Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Ola Rosling, have been awarded their honorary doctorates at the University of Skövde.

Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Ola Rosling created the foundation Gapminder in 2005 together with Hans Rosling, who passed away in 2017. Today, they run the foundation with the purpose of fighting ignorance and misconceptions about global development. Focus for their lecture Friday was a more nuanced perception of the world. Because the world we live in is steadily improving. Despite the fact that many seem to think differently.
– For example, during the last 20 years, world poverty has been reduced by half, which is surprising to many people, says Ola Rosling. 

Slow and gradual improvements don't make the news

What is the reason for the misconception? Anna Rosling explains:
– News is an exception from the normal by nature, and if you follow the news flow, we get the image that there are disasters and misery all over the world all the time. That is not the case – but it colours our perception of the state of the world, says Anna Rosling.

That is the topic of the book "Factfulness", which started out while Hans Rosling was still alive. The book has become a best seller, to say the least. Factfulness has been translated into over 30 languages, and was praised by Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, who decided to present it as a gift to all American students. The book is also issued to all Swedish third grade students at high school. Parallel to releasing the book, the next project is beginning to take off.

Statistics through images and videos

Dollar Street is the new visualization tool, where the world's population is divided into four income groups with the visual support of images and videos. What is the difference in toilets around the world? And beds? And, how do people brush their teeth? Up until now, over 300 homes and families have been portrayed.
– At the fourth level, the families have a water closet and use a tooth brush and tooth paste. At level one, the needs are carried out in a pit outdoors, and people use their hands for brushing their teeth, with no toothpaste in sight, says Anna Rosling Rönnlund.
– We are delighted and honoured. We had never predicted or thought that we would be appointed honorary doctors. We are extremely happy, Anna Rosling Rönnlund concludes.