Paul Farmer and patient

On November 29, Foreign Policy published its second annual list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers. PIH cofounder Dr. Paul Farmer, listed at number 35, finds himself between Senators John Kerry and Dick Lugar (tied for 34) and UN Undersecretary-General Michelle Bachelet (36). From Warren Buffet (1) and President Obama (3) to Mo Ibrahim (52) and Tarja Halonen (99), FP’s list highlights the work of some of most influential figures in public policy in 2010. Foreign Policy commends Paul’s work in post-earthquake Haiti, noting that though simple, his belief that “the most successful aid efforts are driven by people on the ground, rather than dictates from Washington,” flies in the face of conventional aid relief.

Read FP’s entry on Paul.



In addition to listing Paul among the world’s top 100 global thinkers, FP also published a short piece by Dr. Farmer, in which he highlights what he believes are the largest challenges still facing Haiti. Below are some excerpts from 5 Lessons From Haiti’s Disaster:

Jobs are everything.

More Haitian’s must have access to employment if the country is to rebuild itself. As Paul notes, “Haiti has 9.8 million people, and at least half were unemployed even before the earthquake.”


Don’t starve the government.

Local people know best – we need to empower and trust Haiti’s government, and the public sector generally.


Give them something to go home to.

At least 1.3 million people were made homeless by the earthquake and are now living in spontaneous settlements in and around Port-au-Prince. Neither the capital nor the country can build back better if its people do not have access to housing, water, food, and sanitation.


Waste not, want not.

The international community must keep its promises to Haiti. To date, the country has only received 38 percent of the money promised by foreign governments and NGOs for 2010. 


Relief is the easy part.

Disaster relief is not reconstruction. ‘Building Haiti back better’ means sustaining those temporary gains and adding education, health care, services, and good governance.


Read Paul’s full article.