Remarks by President John J. DeGioia
Waldemar A. Nielsen Issue Forums in Philanthropy: The Global Fight Against HIV/AIDS
February 19, 2009
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Good morning. It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to the second installment in the Waldemar A. Nielsen Issue Forums in Philanthropy, in which we examine the role of philanthropy in shaping public policy. The series honors Waldemar A. Nielsen, a historian and critic who called upon philanthropic foundations—especially private ones—to hold themselves to a higher level of accountability to the common good. In this spirit, we hope that the Nielsen forums will spark a public dialogue on the ways in which philanthropy can more effectively influence public policy.
I want to first thank the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for its generosity in supporting Georgetown’s work in this area. And I would also like to recognize Kathy Kretman and the Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership, at Georgetown’s Public Policy Institute, for all their efforts to make this Forum possible…
Today we are looking at an issue of tremendous importance—the Global Fight Against HIV/AIDS. This is one of the greatest challenges confronting our world community…it’s one in which our University is deeply invested…and it’s one that demands collaboration across sectors and across disciplines.
The magnitude of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is staggering:
• In 2007, 33 million people were living with HIV.
• Just last year, there were 2.7 million new infections and 2 million AIDS-related deaths.
• And while more and more individuals are gaining access to affordable treatment, only 3 million people in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral treatment at the end of 2007—just 31% of the estimated global need.
The battle against HIV/AIDS truly calls upon the interest and action of the entire global community. As such, Georgetown is deeply committed to this fight. Our engagement is an extension of our Catholic and Jesuit heritage—values that call us to serve others, to seek justice, and to live in solidarity with our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. And while we look forward to expanding our involvement, and exploring further opportunities, I would like to share with you some highlights of Georgetown’s current involvement in the global fight:
• We’re collaborating with the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference AIDS Office Network—conducting a case study on the successes and strengths of their holistic HIV/AIDS work at 150 project sites.
• We’re also collaborating with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India as they strengthen their work related to HIV/AIDS. Just last winter, we hosted the leadership of this organization, and its Health Commission, for a strategic planning workshop, and together we are developing teaching and training partnership opportunities.
• Through “Nurses SOAR!”—a program in our School of Nursing and Health Studies—we’ve helped to train and mentor nurses who are dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa, Botswana, and Lesotho.
• And, of course, our faculty work across disciplines to bring the unique resources of the Academy to address the HIV/AIDS crisis.
These are just a few examples of Georgetown’s engagement in the fight against HIV/AIDS. One thing I hope that they highlight is that so many of our efforts—for example in India or South Africa—are collaborative in nature. This multidisciplinary approach, this focus on building collaboration, is what—we believe—makes our work unique. It is challenging to work across borders and boundaries of discipline, thought, and expertise, but it allows us to build networks…to leverage resources…and to ensure that we are utilizing best practices. In essence, collaboration enables us to make a much greater difference than could ever be accomplished by working alone.
As we will discuss today, the global fight against AIDS requires the thoughtful, strategic, and generous coordination of our expertise, our experiences, and our resources. I know that many of you in the audience today are combating AIDS in various capacities, and I’d like to thank you for your engagement. But I’d also like to invite you to think about ways in which you can maximize the effectiveness of your investments through collaboration. This “collective action” is not only at the very crux of today’s forum—it’s exactly what will enable us win the battle against AIDS.
An essential part of this “collective action” is philanthropy—which is playing an increasingly crucial role in addressing the problems of our world. Over the past few decades, philanthropy has become more and more efficient and effective—increasingly accountable as Waldemar Nielsen would have approved—but still, we have great room for improvement.
Our speakers today will share some of the lessons they have learned in their philanthropic efforts; some of the solutions they have found; and some of their proposals for future work. Our audience members will then have the opportunity to ask questions and join the conversation.
Introduction of Dr. Tadataka Yamada
To begin, we have a very distinguished keynote speaker with us today. He is someone who is making extraordinary contributions to the fight against global HIV/AIDS—and who is doing so through a targeted, innovative, and effective philanthropic framework. I am of course speaking of Dr. Tadataka “Tachi” Yamada, President of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program. In the world of global health and philanthropy, there are fewer organizations with deeper reach and resources than the Gates Foundation; and I must say, fewer individuals with a more impressive career—truly making a difference in the lives of the poor—than Dr. Yamada.
Dr. Yamada leads the Gates Foundation’s efforts to deliver low-cost, life-saving drugs and medical items to the developing world. He also leads the Foundation’s work to globally eradicate diseases such as polio and malaria.
Before joining the Gates Foundation, Dr. Yamada served as Chairman of Research and Development, and was a member of the Board of Directors, at GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to that, he was Chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School, and Physician-in-Chief at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Additionally, Dr. Yamada is a past president of the American Gastroenterological Association and the Association of American Physicians; a Master of the American College of Physicians; and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.
It is my deep pleasure to introduce to you physician, leader, and visionary—Dr. Tachi Yamada….
Introduction of Distinguished Panelists
Thank you again, Dr. Yamada, and now I would like to introduce our panelists. Each panelist will speak for about ten minutes, offering his or her thoughts on our topic. We will then have a question and answer session, during which you, our audience members, will have the opportunity to participate…
Introduction of Mr. Edward William Scott, Jr.
Our first panelist, Mr. Edward William Scott, Jr. is a true leader in the field of philanthropy. After spending 17 years in government, and after founding BEA Systems, Mr. Scott has become an active and generous contributor to many philanthropic causes. He is the founder and chairman of “Friends of the Global Fight,” which, along with the Gates Foundation, provides support for “The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.”
Along with Bill Gates and George Soros, he also founded the philanthropic organization “DATA”—or Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa. He has provided substantial financial and advisory assistance to Compassion International, a faith-based children’s development group that helps more than 850,000 children in 23 countries. And he has supported the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty; the Center for Global Development; and several orphanages and child development centers in Central America.
Mr. Scott’s credentials, his experience and his investments, speak for themselves—and he is also a Hoya dad. It’s now my great pleasure to introduce Mr. Edward William Scott Jr…
Introduction of Ms. British A. Robinson
Thank you Mr. Scott. Our second panelist today is Ms. British Robinson, Director of Public-Private Partnerships in the Office of the U. S. Global AIDS Coordinator at the State Department. In this position, she provides leadership and guidance for the Public-Private Partnership strategies and interventions for PEPFAR; and leads the US Government’s Public-Private Partnership Technical Working Group.
Prior to joining the State Department, Ms. Robinson served for 10 years as the National Director of Social and International Ministries for the Jesuit Conference, and the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. She also held positions at Catholic Charities/USA, and the Washington Legal Foundation. Her experience and expertise span the private and public sectors and encompass both secular and faith-based initiatives. It’s a pleasure to now introduce Ms. British Robinson…
Introduction of Dr. J. Stephen Morrison
Thank you Ms. Robinson. Our third panelist, Dr. Stephen Morrison, offers extensive expertise on policy affecting Africa, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS. He is currently Director of the new Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, or CSIS. Prior to this position, he directed CSIS’s Africa Program, as well as its Task Forces on HIV/AIDS; Nontraditional Security Assistance; and the Global Food Crisis.
Dr. Morrison has also held numerous positions within the US Government, advising and leading initiatives focused on issues such as global foreign assistance, African affairs, and HIV/AIDS. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins SAIS for nearly a decade and a half, and he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
His insights—drawn from the academy, the halls of medicine, government, and the field—are always fascinating and enlightening. And it’s my pleasure to introduce Dr. Steve Morrison…
Question and Answer Session
Thank you Dr. Morrison. And thank you to all of our panelists for sharing their insights and experiences with us. I would now like to open the floor for another Q & A session—as I know that our audience is eager to engage with our distinguished guests.
Thank you, again, to our panelists for a very informative and thought-provoking discussion. And thank you to our audience members for their participation and commitment to the global fight against HIV/AIDS. For those of you interested in continuing the conversation about innovative and effective philanthropic strategies, I invite you attend the upcoming Nielsen Forums:
• A week from tomorrow, we will look at “Social Justice for America’s Children and Youth,” with William C. Bell, President and CEO of the Casey Family Programs.
• And in April we will discuss public education reform with Wendy D. Puriefoy, President of the Public Education Network.
You will find brochures with more information about those events outside the doors.
Again, thank you or joining us today…and good afternoon.