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盖茨夫妇如何改变数十亿人的生活?

黎克腾 2019年04月28日

盖茨基金会正改变数十亿人的生活,但如果没有背后盖茨夫妇独特的愿景,这个基金会不会有今天如此强大的力量。

性别与全球健康和机遇之间的复杂关系也是梅琳达的新书《提升时刻》的主题,该书于4月首次出版,其中记述了不少生动活泼的故事。

但该书真正的主题似乎是乐观主义,也是盖茨做所有事的态度。比尔和梅琳达认为,有无限机会解决拖累人类社会发展的问题,从而“迎来人类的提升时刻,”梅琳达在书中写道。

“最令人印象深刻的是,比尔和梅琳达都抱有极具感染性的乐观情绪,认为种种问题都可以解决,”渣打银行前首席执行官彼得·桑兹表示,目前他担任全球基金执行董事。“人类在创新、思考和寻找做事方法上能力巨大。如果跟盖茨夫妇相处就会发现,他们总在说,‘下一步要做什么?’我认为这种转变拥有惊人的催化作用,也很鼓舞人心。”

盖茨夫妇都承认积极看待事物的态度对完成使命的重要性,几乎所有的公开演讲时都会提到。“乐观是我们工作的基础,”3月梅琳达在西雅图接受采访时告诉我。“我们一定要认清世界上事情的真实情况,认真了解并认真倾听。但也要相信世界会越来越好。我们就相信世界会变得更好,因为一定会变得更好。”

“比尔和梅琳达都抱有极具感染性的乐观情绪,认为种种问题都可以解决。”——全球基金彼得·桑兹

梅琳达说,与2000年出生的孩子相比,今天出生的孩子5岁前夭折的可能性已降到一半。世界上最穷的地方也不再像以前一样贫穷。“我们一定要坚持进步的信念,帮助其他人坚持信念,这样就会有更多人跟我们一起上路。你看,我们的旅程并不孤独。举个例子,如果想制造新疫苗或发明新技术造福人类,就需要很多很多合作伙伴。”

比尔插嘴说:“我想说,现在乐观主义尤为重要,因为当前有种保守倾向(从政治上来说),各种机构的信任度下降了很多。

“我们做的很多事情都需要很长时间,”他说。“我们研究艾滋病毒疫苗已经超过15年,想成功估计还得10年,所以一共得25年。如果一切顺利,消灭疟疾也还需要20年。消灭脊髓灰质炎1988年开始,但2000年我们才加入。这是个漫长的旅程。”他说,想让人们承诺很有挑战,尤其是某些项目的影响距离很多捐助者的日常生活很遥远时,比如清除疟疾的项目。“乐观,”他说,“是吸引人们参与的关键因素。”

“是的,我们必须相信未来的可能性,”梅琳达补充道。“这并不是一种幼稚的乐观主义,而是现实的乐观主义。我们在努力设想未来,正如领导者为公司或其使命设置未来愿景一样。对我们来说,使命就是让所有生命具有同等的价值。”

The complex interplay between gender and global health and opportunity is also the subject of Melinda’s book, The Moment of Lift, which debuted in April. The stories within are often raw and moving.

But the real theme of the book—as it is with all things Gates, it seems—is optimism: what Bill and Melinda see as the endless opportunities to fix what’s dragging us down and to “summon the moment of lift for human beings,” as Melinda writes in her book.

“The enormously impressive thing is that Bill and Melinda both bring a kind of infectious optimism that these are problems that can be solved,” says Peter Sands, the former CEO of Standard Chartered who is now executive director of The Global Fund. “Humanity has enormous capacity to innovate and think through and find ways of doing things. And when you spend any time with them, they’re constantly in the mode of saying, ‘What do we do next?’ And I think that’s a fantastically catalytic and inspiring turn to have.”

Both Gateses acknowledge how central this bright-side view is to the mission—and seem to wield it in nearly every public speech and presentation. “Optimism is fundamental to our work,” Melinda tells me in our March interview in Seattle. “We have to be able to see the reality of what’s going on in the world, and to know that and to listen to that. But we have to believe in the world getting better. And we do believe in the world getting better because it is getting better.”

“Bill and Melinda both bring a kind of infectious optimism that these are problems that can be solved.” – Peter Sands, The Global Fund

A child born today is half as likely to die before the age of 5, compared to a child born in the year 2000, she says. The poorest parts of the world are less poor than they were. “And we have to hold that belief in progress and help others hold that belief so they’ll come along on the journey with us. Because look, the journey we’re on is not a solo journey. Many, many, many partners need to be at the table to create, for instance, a new vaccine or a new technology that’ll benefit everybody.”

Bill chimes in, “I’d say that kind of optimism is particularly important now where there’s a kind of turning inward [politically speaking], and the trust in various institutions is down a lot.

“A lot of the things we do take a long time,” he says. “I mean, we’ve been working on an HIV vaccine for over 15 years, and it’ll probably be 10 more years before we get there—so 25 years in total. Malaria eradication, if things go well, is 20 years away. The polio effort started in 1988; we didn’t get engaged until 2000. You know, it’s a long journey.” That’s challenging, he says, when it comes to getting people to commit—especially when the initial impact of the effort, as in malaria reduction, is far away from many of the donors’ front yards. “Optimism,” he says, “is a key part of it to engage people.”

“Yes, we have to believe in what’s possible,” adds Melinda. “It’s not at all a naive optimism. It’s a realistic optimism. We’re trying to envision the future—as leaders envision the future of where their company or their mission will go. And for us it’s a mission that all lives have equal value.”

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