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I teach an undergraduate course, BA223, Principles of Leadership, and introduced this book, Paul Farmer and the Partner's in Health team / task force to my students. This type of civic engagement, grass roots, community based leadership is humanity driven and surpasses all egocentric government systems and politically strangulated agencies, in their activism and critical thinking. Humanity would implode if NGOs like Partner's in Health did not exist.
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"To Repair the World" is a collection of calls-to-action Paul Farmer has delivered to medical schools around the country.
Farmer's speeches were designed to inspire the next generation of doctors and health care activists— but they will put a fire under anyone's pants.
In his words, "Resist the impoverishment of aspiration."
The man has remarkable rhetorical gifts, but the power of Farmer's speech comes from the compassion and empathy he’s gained from his experience working in communities without adequate health care.
In the introduction, President Bill Clinton writes of learning about Paul Farmer in a New Yorker profile and calling his daughter Chelsea to ask if she knew of him.
Chelsea told her father that Farmer is "our generation's Albert Schweizer." Good comparison. Schweizer's "reverence for life" translates into Farmer's assertion that health care should be seen as a human right— that all deserve care.
Farmer has an evidence-based conviction: poverty and disease are solvable problems. Faced with a mountain of incalcitrance, you don't grab a pick ax and start chipping away— you invent a new way to bring it all down.
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