Remarks by President John J. DeGioia
Welcome Reception for Ambassador Mark Dybul: Confronting the Global AIDS Challenge
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
Hall of Cardinals
I’m happy that you could all join us tonight as we officially introduce and welcome the newest member of our faculty—but someone who is certainly needs no introduction to the Hilltop—Ambassador Mark Dybul.
But first, before I introduce Mark to you, I would like to introduce another member of our community: Larry Gostin, the Linda and Timothy O’Neill Professor of Global Health Law and faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, a collaborative project of our Law Center and School of Nursing and Health Studies, and it’s dedicated to discovering innovative solutions to humanity’s most pressing health concerns through our diverse faculty and our cross-disciplinary approach.
With the many challenges that a disease like AIDS poses, it’s only an integrated and collaborative approach that will achieve the most significant progress. And with faculty as outstanding as Larry and Mark, I am very excited about the impact Georgetown can contribute to global health in the coming years.
Now, I would like to welcome Larry to the podium.
Thank you Larry…
The presence of so many distinguished guests from across disciplines, and from across the globe, undoubtedly reflects Mark’s standing and respect in the world community. To all of you, Mark requires little introduction, so I will only briefly speak to his impressive resume and accomplishments.
I mentioned that Mark is no stranger to the Hilltop. He is a graduate of both Georgetown College and Georgetown Medical School. And in between the completion of these degrees, Mark and I worked together closely in the President's Office for Fr. Healy.
Following his graduation from medical school, Mark completed his residency at the University of Chicago Hospitals, and held a fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Later in his career, Mark undertook a variety of roles in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including on the Planning Task Force for the Emergency Plan….and as the HHS lead for the International Prevention of Mother and Child HIV Initiative.
In his work as the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator beginning in 2006, Mark oversaw the implementation of President Bush’s Pepfar program—the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This was the largest and most ambitious effort ever launched…by any nation…to target a single disease. Pepfar has distributed more than $18.8 billion to HIV/AIDS projects and has supported antiretroviral treatment for over 2 million people.
But under Mark’s leadership, the Pepfar effort has done more than expand networks of healthcare and protect people from the disease. It has shown the depth of our nation’s commitment to the world community. I recall a story that Mark shared with the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
He described a trip to Africa, saying: “We went to a small clinic on the outskirts of town and met with the staff, including the head of the clinic, who was one of the four town elders. He mentioned the acronym for the Emergency Plan, PEPFAR, a few times. Unlike in Washington, acronyms are not so common in rural Africa. So I asked him ‘what does PEPFAR mean to you?’ He said, ‘PEPFAR means the American people care about us.’”
This message of compassion and solidarity resonates with the spirit of St. Ignatius of Loyola—the founder of the Jesuits and whose spirit animates this university—who urged us all to engage in the world to make it a better place. And it’s also reflected in the empathy and integrity that Mark has always brought to his work and to his life. Mark’s deep appreciation for the Jesuit tradition of service and scholarship will undoubtedly strengthen the work that we do here at Georgetown.
In the past three weeks, Mark has already made a contribution to our University in his new position as Distinguished Scholar and co-director of Center for Global Health at the O’Neill Institute.
As we deepen our engagement with the global health community, I know that his insightful leadership, his compassion, and his expertise will be outstanding assets and resources for us. I am confident that his innovative and thoughtful contributions will help Georgetown respond to the global challenge of HIV/AIDS…will strengthen our University…and will contribute to our entire community. Georgetown has always been proud to have Ambassador Dybul as a member of our family—and we’re now equally proud to welcome him home.
I ask all of you to join me in welcoming Mark back to the Hilltop.
And now, Mark, if you would like to say a few words…