If you’ve ever studied economics at the collegiate level, there’s a good chance you fell asleep in class. But would you stay more alert if you got to study about Wakanda’s foreign economic policy? Well, if you can get into Dartmouth, you can. Donald Steinberg, former deputy administrator for the United States Agency for International Development, is currently teaching a global development class that incorporates the lessons that King T’Challa learned at the end of Black Panther.
If you’ll recall, after simultaneously beating and being influenced by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) pledges to the United Nations that he will open up traditionally isolationist Wakanda, and use his country’s wealth and resources to help the rest of the world. When Steinberg saw the speech on Black Panther’s opening night (he took his kids, for the record), he was starkly reminded of that time he helped write President Barak Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address, where the president pledged to work with global partners to end “extreme poverty.” (How’s that working out?)
Steinberg’s Spring 2018 class (good luck with finals next week!) "The Challenge of Global Poverty: Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It," uses T’Challa’s pledge as a starting point. From there, they’ve strategically imagined how to spend $400 million in foreign aid to Wakanda’s traditional Marvel neighbors — Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda – as well as to Oakland, California, where Killmonger’s roots took revolutionary hold.
The end goal of the class is to produce a 120-page report imagining how T’Challa would spend his country’s resources, with regards to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, “17 goals to transform our world,” which Steinberg helped write. “No Poverty,” “Zero Hunger,” “Good Health and Well Being” comprise the first three Goals.
Some of Steinberg’s fellow global economic and development experts who also helped create the Goals are onboard to consult the class. For their efforts, Steinberg got them "Wakanda Ministry of International Cooperation Haldeman Division" custom t-shirts, a nod to the building which houses the class.
Thus far the class's 120-page report has already been requested by the Brookings Institution, the Ford Foundation, and the National Youth Foundation. So who knows, maybe the imaginary Wakanda will start influencing real-world sustainable development.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)