Noted author Tracy Kidder spoke at Hampshire College on September 4, 2009. A book signing followed his talk.
Kidder talked about his book Mountains Beyond Mountains, which was selected as the common reading for incoming students at Hampshire College this fall.
Mountains Beyond Mountains chronicles the story of Dr. Paul Farmer, a major force in revolutionizing international health. It is a gripping and inspiring account of one man's efforts to establish clinics and hospitals, his compassion for the poor, his inner circle of true believers and, ultimately, his success in helping stem the tide of new HIV and TB infections in Haiti. Farmer is the founder of Zanmi Lasante (Creole for Partners in Health), a nongovernmental organization that is the only healthcare provider in the Plateau Central in Haiti.
Mountains Beyond Mountains takes the reader from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that "the only real nation is humanity"—a philosophy embodied in Partners In Health. He enlists the help of the Gates Foundation, George Soros, the U.N.'s World Health Organization, and others in his quest to cure the world. At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope, and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb "Beyond mountains there are mountains": as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one, too.
Over his long career, Kidder's writing has been prolific and outstanding. The Soul of a New Machine—a book celebrated for its insight into the world of high-tech corporate America—earned him both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in nonfiction in 1982. His other bestselling works include House, Among Schoolchildren, Old Friends and Home Town.
To Stay Engaged
PIH is built upon a foundation of volunteerism and has strived, since its founding, to cultivate a concerted movement of people and communities dedicated to fighting social injustices and health inequities. As we explore the best and most enriching ways to create both hands on volunteer experiences and the space for engagement in the issues of social justice and health equity, we also are committed to staying true to our core principles, particularly our goal of building capacity at the local level by creating jobs and providing training in the communities we serve.
To move towards better achieving our goal of bringing the fruits of modern medicine to those who need it most, we hope to bring on volunteers from around the world to help us in particular with bringing on supporters of all kinds who are dedicated to fighting for justice and equity. We encourage you to explore the many ways you can take action to support Partners In Health by visiting www.pih.org and signing up for our electronic mailing list.
In addition, there are many other networks and resources that can be helpful as you find the best way to engage personally or professionally in efforts to promote health and social justice.
Volunteer Opportunity Listings:
International Volunteer Programs Association: http://www.volunteerinternational.org/resources.html
The International Medical Volunteers Association: http://www.imva.org/
Volunteer: A Traveler's Guide by Lonely Planet
How to Live Your Dream of Volunteering Overseas by Joseph Collins, Zahara Heckscher, and Stefano DeZerega (Penguin Books)
PIH student listserv: https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/studentsforpih/
PIH electronic mailing list: http://www.pih.org/youcando/email.html#
Boston Network for International Development (BNID): http://www.bnid.org/
University Coalition for Global Health: http://www.ucgh.org/
The Lancent Student Network: http://www.thelancetstudent.com/
American Medical Student Association: http://www.amsa.org/
Global Health and Social Justice Organizations:
Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC): http://www.brac.net/
The Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative: http://www.clintonfoundation.org/
Child Family Health International: http://www.cfhi.org/
Equal Justice Initiative: http://www.eji.org/
FACE AIDS: http://www.faceaids.org/
Global Health Corps: http://ghcorps.org/
Global Citizen Year: http://globalcitizenyear.org/
Health GAP (Global Access Project): http://www.healthgap.org/
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti: http://www.ijdh.org/
Jubilee USA Network: http://www.jubileeusa.org/
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders): http://www.msf.org/
Partners In Health: https://www.pih.org/
Student Global AIDS Campaign: http://www.fightglobalaids.org/
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines: http://www.essentialmedicine.org/