Harvard School of Public Health Celebrates 100 Year Anniversary (Fall 2013)

Originally published in Sturgis Storm Watch 10/28/2013. Reprinted with permission of the author.
By Katie CurranClass of 2016 
Katie Curran with former U.S. president Bill Clinton at "The Event of the Century"

Katie Curran with former U.S. president Bill Clinton at “The Event of the Century”

“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 the “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 had won a ticket to attend the event through a lottery.  As a sophomore at Sturgis Charter School, it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that meant the world to me to attend.
One of the honorary awards at this event was the Centennial Medal Award, 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.
All of these people were lauded for their extraordinary leadership and actions for public health throughout the world. 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, which aims to strengthen health care in developing countries in the world. In addition, her work through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation fights childhood obesity.  Clinton noted, “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 to shake 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 the 100th anniversary of the Harvard School of Public Health was a phenomenal event.  I want to wish all of the award recipients congratulations on their remarkable achievements. These people have definitely inspired me to continue to pursue my passion for public service.  It was truly a memorable experience.
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