In his latest book, “To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation” (University of California Press, 2013), renowned physician and social activist Paul Farmer includes the commencement address he delivered last year to the Holy Cross graduating class of 2012.
In the address, Farmer spoke of his experience in Haiti in 1982, and one particular instance, in which, by luck, he was able to save an ill man’s life with an inhaler. Noting that people should not be susceptible to death due to treatable conditions such as asthma, Farmer said, “We inhabit a bizarrely unequal planet;” and added, “Such imbalances are even less tolerable now, in what we are calling modern times.”
Later in the address, Farmer spoke of the importance of “human solidarity,” and urged the commencement audience — and now readers worldwide — to “[put] your gifts and training in the service to others who may not have had the same opportunities, but are certainly appreciative of your powers to do good.”
Farmer is chief strategist of the world health organization Partners in Health which he co-founded.
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