Professor Jeff Talley: Engineers and Humanity

Professor Jeff Talley talks about the need for engineers and scientists to focus their creative energies on addressing the issue of global poverty.

Jeffrey Talley, chair of SMU's Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering and the Bobby B. Lyle Professor of Leadership and Global Entrepreneurship, told TEDxSMU that if the global problems of poverty and deprivation are to be addressed, engineers and scientists must unleash their creative energies.

Watch Jeff Talley's presentation at TEDxSMU 2009.
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"Most of modern society has been affected or influenced positively by engineering," said Talley, founding director of SMU's Hunter and Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity. "Yet specifically, despite these successes, many problems of the global poor and disadvantaged communities around the world have yet to benefit from the creativity of engineers and scientists.

"Over 40 percent of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. One billion lack access to safe drinking water and 2 billion lack access to proper sanitation or modern energy sources. It is estimated that 100 million people are homeless in the world and about 1.1 billion live in substandard housing," Talley said. "Even in the United States, it is estimated that the number of people in poverty has rised by 6 million people since the year 2000. What will change everything? Engineers and those outside the field of engineering need to focus their creative energies on addressing the issue of global poverty."

Talley joined SMU in summer 2009 after completing a year of service as Baghdad Provincial Engineer under Gen. David Petraeus, where he commanded more than 4,000 engineers and soldiers in the 926th Engineer Brigade. Talley is credited with developing a military and policy strategy widely referred to as “engineering the peace” that aims to reduce violence in destabilized communities by rapidly rebuilding infrastructure, schools and hospitals. His work is credited with reducing violence and terrorism in the militia stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, and he was awarded two Bronze Stars.

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