I left campus knowing little about the millions of youngpeople cheated out of educational opportunities here inthis country. And I knew nothing about the millions ofpeople living in unspeakable poverty and disease indeveloping countries.
It took me decades to find out.
You graduates came to Harvard at a different time. You know more about the world's inequitiesthan the classes that came before. In your years here, I hope you've had a chance to think abouthow—in this age of accelerating technology—we can finally take on these inequities, and we cansolve them.
Imagine, just for the sake of discussion, that you had a few hours a week and a few dollars a monthto donate to a cause—and you wanted to spend that time and money where it would have thegreatest impact in saving and improving lives. Where would you spend it
For Melinda and for me, the challenge is the same: how can we do the most good for the greatestnumber with the resources we have.
During our discussions on this question, Melinda and I read an article about the millions of childrenwho were dying every year in poor countries from diseases that we had long ago made harmless inthis country. Measles, malaria, pneumonia, hepatitis B, yellow fever. One disease I had never evenheard of, rotavirus, was killing half a million kids each year—none of them in the United States.