“We can learn a lot about improving the world in the 21st century from an icon of the industrial era: the steam engine. Over the holidays I read The Most Powerful Idea in the World, a brilliant chronicle by William Rosen of the many innovations it took to harness steam power. Among the most important were a new way to measure the energy output of engines and a micrometer dubbed the “Lord Chancellor,” able to gauge tiny distances.”
Introduction Excerpt (source: The Gates Foundation):
The focus of this year’s letter is innovation and how it can make the difference between a bleak future and a bright one.
2009 was the first year my full-time work was as co-chair of the foundation, along with Melinda and my dad. It’s been an incredible year and I enjoyed having lots of time to meet with the innovators working on some of the world’s most important problems. I got to go out and talk with people making progress in the field, ranging from teachers in North Carolina to health workers fighting polio in India to dairy farmers in Kenya. Seeing the work firsthand reminds me of how urgent the needs are as well as how challenging it is to get all the right pieces to come together. I love my new job and feel lucky to get to focus my time on these problems.
At TEDxChange, Melinda Gates makes a provocative case for nonprofits taking a cue from corporations such as Coca-Cola, whose plugged-in, global network of marketers and distributors ensures that every remote village wants — and can get — a Coke. Why shouldn’t this work for condoms, sanitation, vaccinations too?
About Melinda Gates
As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda French Gates helps shape and approve foundation strategies, review results, advocate for foundation issues and set the overall direction of the organization.
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health with vaccines and other life-saving tools and giving them a chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to dramatically improve education so that all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Hans Rosling stresses the importance of continuing efforts that reduce child mortality and increase family planing as the corner stone to improving a nation’s public health. After hearing his TED talk, check out THIS complementary TED talk, which shows how Thailand has emphasized family planning.
About this talk
Hans Rosling reframes 10 years of UN data with his spectacular visuals, lighting up an astonishing — mostly unreported — piece of front-page-worthy good news: We’re winning the war against child mortality. Along the way, he debunks one flawed approach to stats that blots out such vital stories.
Co-creator of the philanthropic FEED bags, Ellen Gustafson says hunger and obesity are two sides of the same coin. At TEDxEast, she launches The 30 Project — a way to change how we farm and eat in the next 30 years, and solve the global food inequalities behind both epidemics.
About Ellen Gustafson
Ellen Gustafson co-founded FEED Projects in 2007, creating an immensely popular bag whose profits are donated to the UN World Food Program (WFP). As a former employee of the WFP, she supported their mission to provide school lunches in developing countries so that children could receive both the nutrition and education they need. FEED has also created special bags and a new fund to address the crisis in Haiti, helping the children they once fed at school to rebuild their schools.
At TEDxEast in May 2010, Gustafson launched The 30 Project — an effort to address the world’s hunger and obesity problems as a holistic global food issue. In her new venture, she hopes to stimulate a movement that will change our food and agricultural systems over the next 30 years so that healthy, balanced meals are available to all. Before her efforts to fix the world’s food issues, Gustafson’s primary concern was international security. She wrote and edited pieces on international terrorism for ABC and was a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ali Al-Rajhi writes with the purpose of informing individuals in the Public Health field about pressing issues in environmental health, public health policy, epidemiology, and behavioral health. Learn more here.