NewsHonorary degree citation
President, Global Health Council
You decided on a life in medicine as a teenager growing up in Vermont. America was mired in the Vietnam War and you wanted a career that respected and preserved lives rather than attempted to control them. As you headed off to Harvard you expected to get your medical degree and then perhaps return to Vermont and the quiet life of a country doctor. But in your final year of medical school, Bangladesh intervened. You spent six months in that impoverished, newborn nation as a different kind of country doctor, working in a rural outreach clinic on the front lines of the developing world’s health struggle. That experience changed your life and the future of millions.
Over the next 17 years you worked around the globe, as a public health advisor in Mali, as a senior health administrator in Nepal and as a director of primary care programs on three continents. You made a name for yourself pioneering efforts to improve the health and survival of children in developing countries. Your efforts did not escape the notice of a young president also looking to improve the world.
President Clinton hired you in 1993 as Senior International Health Advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development. As this country’s top international health expert you represented the United States at the 1994 International Conference on Population, helping to shape such goals as reduction of infant mortality and improved access to reproductive health services. Two years later you led the American delegation to the World Food Summit in Rome, which set the goal of reducing by 50 percent the number of people who suffer from hunger by 2015.
You left the government in 1998 to lead the Global Health Council. As head of the world’s largest alliance dedicated to improving health around the globe, you bring together thousands of health experts from 103 countries to identify international health problems, bring them to the attention of critical decision makers and garner the collective will to solve them. From grassroots efforts to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS to collaborating with the World Health Organization to fight river blindness, you strive to make the health of a jungle village as important as the health of an American suburb.
You have worked for decades to better the lives of the world’s have-nots. In that time we have seen millions die from causes as seemingly simple as lack of access to clean drinking water, to as complex as malaria and as sinister as at the hands of their fellow citizens.
You are well aware of lives lost, but you look to lives saved. You acknowledge the setbacks as inevitable on the road of progress, and tell us “the opportunity to save 10 million lives a year is a remarkable one.” You have spent your career saving and improving the lives of your fellow humans, Nils Daulaire, and for that we owe your a tremendous debt of gratitude.
We are pleased to confer upon you the degree
Doctor of Humane Letters, Honorary