Welcoming Leaders-to-Be on Global Health


One of my former associate at Health Policy Institute, Mr. Ban-no (see blog on Aug. 2007.~sorry, but this is in Japanese on my visit to New Delhi), who now studies at Harvard University School of Public Health.  He brought with him some 30 classmates to Japan and I was invited to give a welcome speech for their Day 1.  I began by asking them whether they read or listened to the 2007 Commencement speeches at Harvard by Bill Gates and another one at Stanford 2005, by Steven Jobs.  Surprisingly or not, a handful knew about these speeches, thus I strongly recommended them to read and view them on the web, benefits of our connected world.  Mr. Gates and Jobs both delivered quite passionate and moving messages to these selected small number of students what they could think of in their future career.

I discussed the issues on global health, MDGs, and related matters they would and should challenge.  It was a very enjoyable one hour for all and all students seemed enjoy our interaction.  One student from Iraq later sent me a moving email which reflects the status of his country and his career and I replied with encouragements toward our common goals.

Harvardsph030801photo1 Our group picture

They then will visit a couple of places over a week.  But when I was told that they will visit Hiroshima with a visit to A-Bomb memorial, I strongly suggested them to try to see Ms. Nassrine Azimi, Director of UNITAR in Hiroshima.  She is one of the most intelligent and most inspiring persons I met.  So I called her office, but she was out in Thai, then, but just back in time to greet them later in the week in Hiroshima.  I received an email from Mr. Ban-no to tell me how fortunate they felt they were to see her even for a short time to discuss various matters including A-Bomb and also a ‘thank you’ email from her, too.  Unexpected encounters are often a step for something new of significance and I am sure this could be such one for some of students.