February 07, 2012 | By Bill Gates
Bill’s Annual Letter: Continuing the Conversation
In his annual letter and related events, Bill encouraged students, advocates for the poor, and global leaders to keep the dialogue alive about the value of development aid and the 1.4 billion people still living in extreme poverty.
I got a large number of responses to my annual letter, which was great. I’m really pleased that so many people understand the value of development aid and believe governments should keep their commitments to helping the world’s poorest.
I was especially thrilled that more than 1,500 students accepted my invitation to write their own annual letters about the issues they’re most concerned about. Judging by the response, they’ve put a lot of thought into the same issues I care about.
I also met with some incredible students at Deptford Green School, an inner city school in South London. They’re among the most globally aware students I’ve ever met. We had a great conversation about things like agricultural innovation (the main focus of my annual letter this year) helping those affected by AIDS, climate change, and the problems that people with disabilities face in poor countries. One student who stood out was Tristan who talked about global warming being the most pressing issue facing the world. He hopes to someday invest in renewable energy.
While in London, Hans Rosling and I participated in the launch of an exciting new effort aimed at getting people talking about the 1.4 billion people still living in extreme poverty. Seventy specially-trained Global Poverty Ambassadors will take action in their communities on behalf of the Global Poverty Project to tell the story of success and raise awareness of the reality of extreme poverty. Efforts like the Global Poverty Project are a way to remind people that this is not a time to turn inward or reduce government aid for development programs that are working.
I got a chance to do that a few days later at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where I met with government and other leaders about the connection between agricultural innovation, children’s health, and economic development.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who participated in these conversations and the Live Q&A last week. The response proves that people really do want to have a dialogue about poverty and development. I’m excited about the momentum and will continue to share some of the incredible success stories about the ways development aid is improving the lives of millions who are still living in extreme poverty.