Alec: Letter to the Reader

Dear Reader,

Well done! Hopefully you are excited to begin your quest for understanding some of the underlying causes of conflict. Over the summer of 2008, we put together a resource to assist you in your effort focusing on five sources of potential conflict. Although the areas of focus are varied, these sources of conflict are also closely intertwined. I hope that these articles will expand your knowledge of underlying causes of conflict.

Over the past century, the world has been transformed into a closely connected global society. It is more important than ever that people become aware of the age of rapid communication and limitless travel capabilities in which much of the world’s population now lives. A sense of global awareness is bound to increase as time progresses. As high school students, I realize that the prospect of this new age may not seem to be an immediate concern for some. The purpose of this reader is to help you see the relevance of conflicts around the world in your own lives, and that the global society in which we now live has created connections between peoples and nations that did not exist in earlier times. Unfortunately, conflict in many forms is also a part of today’s global community, and many of those conflicts will require very broad participation around the world in order for them to be resolved. As underdeveloped countries suffer from internal strife and others continue to vie for natural resources, it is important that the next generation of young leaders begins to understand the underlying sources that create these conflicts.

The focus of my research as an intern has been economic underdevelopment. In today’s global market, economies are not separate entities. Rather they are part of an interdependent network, and their fates are linked to each other, both in success and failure. Economic underdevelopment plagues the vast majority of countries. Conflict often occurs between the fortunate and those who are not fortunate. The lack of economic equality often causes conflict to ensue. It is the moral responsibility of those nations in a position to offer assistance to these regions, often plagued by disease, famine, and poverty, to do so. Assistance can come in the form of financial and food aid, international cooperation, and most of all, education. The spreading of knowledge is essential to the empowerment of those who suffer from the cycle of severe poverty. We must make a concerted effort to prevent conflict and to help those suffering from economic underdevelopment.


Alec Howard

Cathedral Catholic High School


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