“The greatest threat facing the world today is war”. Dr. Samantha Nutt is petit and far younger than anticipated, and when she speaks, she speaks with conviction. The whole room grows silent when she mentions that her outwardly exciting career has on several occasions nearly cost her life. As she gives this year’s Hancock lecture entitled The World is Our Backyard: Individual Responsibility for a Global Society, it is clear that Dr. Nutt has seen more than almost anyone in the room.
In 2001, two students along with Hart House’s previous Warden, Margaret Hancock, began the yearly Hancock Lecture Series. This year the Hancock lecture planning committee invited the founder of WarChild Canada, Samantha Nutt. She confessed that prior to the mid-nineties she knew little of the details of war. After finishing medical school and doing some fieldwork in the developing world; her mentor the late Pierce Gerety, contracted her to work alongside his team in Somalia. The contract listed her salary at one dollar. The most shocking aspect of life in her region of Somalia, to the 24 year-old Nutt, was the sheer amount of guns and weaponry. At that point it was a failed state with gangs of young men ruling with impunity. They ran the streets killing, raping and pillaging anyone who stood in their way. The AK-47’s these boys dealt with were for the most part manufactured in the 1950’s and sold to them for about six dollars a piece. When Dr. Nutt asks the audience to guess just how many AK-47’s there are floating around in the world today, no one estimates the roughly 200 million she states. Continue reading “Hancock 2008: The World Is Our Backyard”