Hope. Hope. Hope.

The Time Summit on Global Health has
concluded. I leave it exhausted but exuberant. It brought together some of the
best minds in the world who are addressing global health issues with some of the
most inspiring and heroic grassroots practitioners delivering health care
services. Hearing the interaction between these people was a rare experience.
I cannot capture for you the my personal sense of hope and gratitude that people
of such quality are giving consideration to the most urgent of human issues we
face in the global human family. It was not a Summit to berate and invoke
guilt. It was a Summit to discuss, learn and look to the future predicated upon
the premise that we can do better. Malaria can be eliminated. HIV/AIDS can be
contained. Tuberculosis can be prevented. When the greatest minds in the world
tell you this, you dare to hope.

The Time Summit on Global Health has concluded. I leave it exhausted but exuberant. Time and the Gates Foundation brought together some of the best minds in the world who are addressing global health issues with some of the most inspiring and heroic grassroots practitioners delivering health care services. Hearing the interaction between these people was a rare experience. I cannot capture for you my personal sense of hope and gratitude that people of such quality are giving consideration to the most urgent of human issues we face in the global human family. It was not a Summit to berate and invoke guilt. It was a Summit to discuss, learn and look to the future. It was predicated upon the premise that we can do better. Malaria can be eliminated. HIV/AIDS can be contained. Tuberculosis can be prevented. When the greatest minds in the world tell you this, you dare to hope.

This is the first thing I take away–hope.


When you hear Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Ted Turner, Bono, Sen. Sam Brownback, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Sec. Madeleine Albright, Gen. Sec. Kofi Annan all speak of their hope for creating change around the things that unite us and that are common to our humanity, you can’t help but think there is reason to hope. When you hear specific actions, this hope becomes less ephemeral and more concrete. Bill Gates has just committed $250 million to research efforts for new vaccines for malaria and Senator Brownback advocated for channelling money to prevent childhood diseases across the globe, loosening restrictions and concentrating on prevention. This was not about empty promises.

Bono, as articulate a celebrity advocate as I’ve heard, wryly told the Summit that the membership of the One Campaign now exceeds the membership of the National Rifle Association in the U.S. This campaign is focusing its efforts on getting youth to participate in advocacy for policy reform to support grassroots health delivery.

There was much, much more and I hope to write about it in the coming days. If you’ve been distressed by the news lately and feeling frustrated by the dialogue that is so divisive and negative, I want to offer hope that there is another way. We must embody hope by creating inclusive communities that affirm all peoples–the poor, HIV/AIDS-affected individuals, children left orphaned, women struggling under oppressive conditions and all others who face discrimination and exclusion. We must create grassroots communities that act as Jesus called us to act, as communities of love. And we must act urgently because the harm is being done now. The children are dying now.

If I have learned anything these past three days it is that individuals with passion can make a difference in the world. We must passionately seek to be people of open hearts, open minds and open doors.

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