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February 18, 2002

Bill Foege to keynote Feb. 26 science & theology symposium

By Beverly Clark


The individual and global struggles—and the ability to make a difference in the world of international health will be addressed by public health pioneer William Foege during Emory’s third annual Science and Theology Symposium, to be held Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Foege, Presidential Distinguished Professor of International Health Emeritus, is the winner of the 2001 Mary Woodward Lasker Award, “America’s Nobel” in medicine. He currently is senior medical adviser for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health Program.

“This is not a fatalistic world,” said Foege, who added that his talk also will touch on issues raised in the wake of Sept. 11. “Although it is difficult, we have more in our control to effect change than we realize.”

Foege will speak during a noon luncheon in Cox Hall. Following responses from William Wood, chair of the Department of Surgery in the School of Medicine, and Walter Lowe, professor of systematic theology in the Candler School of Theology, the audience will be invited to join the conversation with Foege and his respondents.

“Bill Foege is a quiet hero who has shaped our world for the better,” said University Secretary Gary Hauk, whose office is cosponsoring the event with the Walter Candler Lectureship and Meridian Herald, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing cultural and liturgical understanding.

“[Foege’s] profound faith has directed his remarkable intelligence,” Hauk continued, “and anyone who has heard him speak knows that he will teach us well, challenge us thoughtfully, and fascinate us along the way.”

Foege also will speak at an interfaith service at 7:30 p.m. in Glenn Auditorium. The service will include music by the Meridian Chorale, led by music director Steven Darsey, and Timothy Albrecht, University organist.

As a medical officer for the World Health Organization, Foege developed the methodology to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. He then joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as assistant to the director before becoming director in 1977. From 1984 to 2000, he served as executive director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, which in just six years helped raise general immunization levels of the world’s children from 20 percent to 80 percent.

Foege later served as executive director of the Carter Center and was appointed Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory in 1997.

The symposium is free and open to the public. To reserve lunch, attendees should call 404-727-6022 or e-mail