For the release of To Repair the World, Paul Farmer's new book of speeches to young people, we asked supporters to share their advice to the next generation. Here are our top picks.
Believe a better world is possible
Never lose your fierce idealism. Let it be tempered by pragmatism, humility, and a willingness to learn, but never let anyone tell you that the better world you imagine is not possible. It is, through the power of partnership. - Emi K.
The data have done their job
It is our moral imperative to realize global health equity in our lifetime. This is not an easy task, but my murky vision of truth involves conveying the message that we need everyone’s hearts, minds, imagination, resources, and friendship to see this job to the end. We have mountains of evidence reminding us that all signs point to poverty, oppression, and structural violence. And, until we collectively step up and systematically take care of every single person all of the time, we will find ourselves stumbling back into structures that add to collective despair rather than support human potential. My murky vision of truth tugs at my conscience and constantly reminds me that the data have done their job, and now the time has come to do ours. - Ashley D.
Five simple words: Be kind to each other. - Aziz H.
Think differently, imagine boldly, and act collectively
Our generation of health advocates stands on the shoulders of giants, to be sure: Giants who have improved the lives of thousands, who have forged change in small pockets of communities across the globe. Now we must find a way to make health justice the rule, to fight for equal health access and opportunity: to change the lives of millions. We cannot do this alone. Rather, we must build trusted partnerships -- across all disciplines, races, languages, and geographic communities -- rooted in our shared values of respect for human dignity, health equity and justice. We must challenge ourselves and each other to think differently, imagine boldly, and act collectively. And we must do it now.” - Amy T.
See through new eyes
In my work, I am fortunate enough to work with refugees from all over the world. Sometimes when I am working with a skilled interpreter, the interpreter will turn to me and say, "This might take a little longer because we don't have that concept in our culture." When we open ourselves to other cultures, we begin to develop the amazing capacity to see through new eyes, to hear through new ears, and to think from different perspectives. When we bring these new eyes, ears, and perspectives to bear on problems that have long been considered intractable, new solutions emerge, new energy is generated to push toward solutions, and new faith enters our hearts that even the most difficult problems can be solved. - Loren B.
Contribute to the next generation
When you actively seek to collaborate rather than passively accepting the effects of collaboration you will find people willing and interested in what you have to say. You may not always convince others to follow your ideas, but every single time you share them you leave a little bit of yourself behind. Please look around you and think of the generations that came before and contribute to the next generation. You are using the resources past generations left for you and you're adding what you have to them for the people who are to come. Spread your ideas wide, share yourself broadly, and collaborate actively. - Greg K.
Be driven by something grand
Some things are easy. Positive world change is not one of those things. My motto is: "You can't not do something, if the only reason not to is laziness." This motto gets me out of bed in the morning, pushes me through my 3 p.m. lethargy, gets my butt to volunteering after work. The reason my motto works for me is simple: I do not want laziness to be the primary motivation of my life. I want something greater, something more noble, something that helps others, to be the determining factor of my actions, and thus, my identity. If you ever think "should I?" but hesitate, or procrastinate, or give up, I can tell you that I was once like that, but am no longer. Let your life be driven by something as grand. Your life deserves it. - Annie D.
Always good advice
Be good to your mother. - Jim W.