|Pigeons line up. 5:40 PM. Photo: JH.|
|Wednesday, February 9, 2010. Cold winter day in New York.
Tete-a-tete-Tett. Went down to Michael’s to meet and lunch with Gillian Tett, the US Managing Editor the Financial Times. We were joined briefly by Emma Gilpin-Jacobs, the Global Director of Communications for the FT and FT Group.
Michael’s was positively jammed. At Table One, Al Gore was lunching with several gentlemen including Mark Rosenthal and Keith Olberman, the newest addition to Mr. Gore’s Current Media (Mark Rosenthal is its CEO), the cable network founded in 2005. Yesterday’s luncheon was a celebration of the new association. Mr. Olberman, now sporting a fresh beard, will produce and host a nightly live news show. His title will be Chief News Officer.
|DPC and Gillian Tett at Michael's. That's Keith Olberman at the table behind with the glasses and the beard.|
|The scene at 583 Park Avenue last night just before the gala dinner for the IWHC.|
|Last night at 583 Park, the International Women’s Health Coalition held its annual gala dinner honoring Dr. Paul Farmer, who is a Medical anthropologist (that word again), a physician and a founding director of Partners in Health (PIH), an international non-profit organization that provides direct health care services and undertakes research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty.
Dr. Farmer is also the Presley Professor of Social Medicine and chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School as well as Chief of the Division of Global Healthy Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and the United Nations Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti, under Special Envoy Bill Clinton.
|Dr. Paul Farmer.||Dr. Paul Farmer, last night's honoree, with Aryeh Neier.|
|The phrase we heard several times last night was Gender Equality. The IWHC understands better than most of us that the most important road out of poverty and ill-health is Gender Equality and Gender Equity. Education and high quality health care in resource-poor settings.
HIV is rampant in the developing world and its victims are mainly young women, many of whom have no choice, or medical assistance to avoid the disease. Cervical cancer, he said, kills more women in the developing world than any other disease, and yet there is now a vaccine available.
|Adrienne Germain, president of the IWHC addressing last night's guests.|
|The developed countries are well aware and in many ways adapted to Women’s Rights. The developing countries are far behind. The solution to breaking the grip of poverty is simple but difficult to achieve: education for women and health care. This is charter of the IWHC.
There is not yet a cure for HIV but it is now a treatable disease. Last night Dr. Farmer told us about a Haitian girl whom he has known since birth who was born with HIV – her mother died of AIDS – and who is now 20 years old. He ran into her recently on one of his trips to Haiti. The young woman has grown up educated about gender equity and equality. He asked her what she wanted to do with her life. She told him she wanted to start a business, to be independent, to determine her own future outside the binds a male dominated social structure.
Marlene Hess, an IWHC board member served as emcee. She introduced Aryeh Neier, the human rights activist who is president of the Open Society Institute and former director of the Human Rights Watch. He was standing in for George Soros who could not attend. Mr. Soros is the founder of the Open Society Foundations that spends about $450 million annually promoting the values of democracy and an open society.
|Fern Mallis and Micky Ateyeh.||Samantha Topping and her aunt Polly Espy.|
|Ellen Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History.||Susan Cohn Rockefeller and David Rockefeller Jr.|
|The International Women’s Health Coalition is relatively unknown to our American everyday world, yet it is leading global and local actions to secure every woman’s right to a just and healthy life. When you sit in on one of these dinners, among serious-thinking, concerned citizens, and listen to men and women like Dr. Farmer, Marlene Hess, Aryeh Neier, Adrienne Germain (president of IHWC) you realize that despite all that we read and hear about politics and economics and warfare is irrelevant without the vision of the IWHC, which is focusing on the survival of all societies on this planet. And with it, comes hope.
It starts with women and girls. Visit their site (www.iwhc.org) and find out how you can contribute and participate.
|Dr. Farmer with his co-workers in Haiti.|