"The Event of the Century" | Teen Ink

"The Event of the Century"

November 3, 2013
By KatieCurran SILVER, Pocasset, Massachusetts
KatieCurran SILVER, Pocasset, Massachusetts
9 articles 8 photos 0 comments

“We are living in an unprecedented era of interdependence but that only means that we cannot escape each other. Divorce is not an option,” President Bill Clinton exclaimed. “We are all bound together.”

The Harvard School of Public Health held a ceremony which the school called an “Event of the Century”. On Thursday, October 24 in Boston, the Harvard School of Public Health celebrated its 100th year celebration with a weekend of festivities. Their celebration included honoring distinguished individuals whose creative minds and effective leadership have had a global impact on world health.
I was one of a select few who won a ticket to attend the event through a lottery. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that meant the world to me to attend.

The Centennial Medal Award was developed specifically to commemorate the School’s 100th Anniversary. The recipients of the Centennial Medal included former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland; Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank Group; and President Bill Clinton, the founder of the Clinton Foundation.

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland has been an advocate for global interdependence, focusing on environmental awareness, and advocating for global health. She has spent 20 years in public office. As former Director of the World Health Organization’s HIV/AIDS Department, Dr. Jim Yong Kim led the ‘3 by 5’ initiative, which was a global goal for AIDS treatment. Former President Bill Clinton has made strides to improve global health, strengthen economies, and protect the environment.

The School also awarded the Next Generation Award, which honors an individual under the age of 40 whose leadership and commitment to global health inspires young people. Chelsea Clinton, the vice chair of the Clinton Foundation received the award and spoke a little bit about her work with the foundation. Chelsea continues to focus on the foundation’s health programs, including the Clinton Health Access Initiative. This initiative strengthens health care in the developing world. In addition, her work through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation fights childhood obesity. She noted that “To make change, you have to have some fundamental dissatisfaction, and I think young people are disproportionately qualified to do that.”

After the ceremony, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet some distinguished recipients. I had the privilege to talk with President Bill Clinton and shook his hand. It was incredible to witness such an illustrious leader. In addition, I spoke with Chelsea Clinton about her work with the Clinton Foundation. I told her a little bit about myself at the age of 15 and she wished me the best in my endeavors. I also had the chance to chat with the Former Prime Minister of Norway, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, a Harvard alumni, about her work in Scandinavia and my experiences of being an exchange student in Denmark.

Overall, I have to say that it was a phenomenal day. I want to wish all of the recipients congratulations on their remarkable achievements. All of the recipients inspired me to continue to pursue my passion for public service. It was truly a memorable experience.

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