Atlanta, GA, December 24, 2005 --(PR.com
)-- A four-hour video webcast of the First Annual Atlanta “Hedge Funds vs. Malaria” Business Leadership Conference opened today at the Malaria Foundation International (MFI) website, www.malaria.org. The conference’s prestigious and diverse line up of speakers and introducers (29 in total) succeeded in engaging a captivated audience at the conference, which was sponsored by the MFI and hosted by Emory University on December 6, 2005. Malaria experts, business leaders, and sports figures, as well as faculty, administrators and students from across campus were among the several hundred attendees and participants who gathered for this fast paced and personalized conference to learn the hard facts about malaria and how a diverse group of individuals can work together to fight the disease.
Malaria kills millions, mostly children, year after year, and the conference aimed to help bring this message to the forefront and help bring an end to these “quiet deaths,” which minute by minute, year after year have gone largely unnoticed worldwide.
“This is the single largest health crisis in the world right now,” said Mr. Lance Laifer, a Co-Founder of the Hedge Funds vs. Malaria conference series. This fact was echoed throughout the conference by many of the speakers and introducers who also gave poignant views to help stir the audience into action. To help excite the audience into action, Mr. Laifer used this opportunity to launch the first basketball “shot” for his latest initiative called Dunk Malaria, which aims to involve 99 million people in the fight against malaria by March 19th, Malaria Action Day, and he demonstrated on stage how easy it is for people of all ages to participate. “Everyone needs to be getting involved,” said Mr. Lance Laifer, in his closing remarks. “All the world’s children are all of our children. Let the first thing young children associate with sport be a positive thing. I want to call for a World Malaria Summit where every leader spends one day and gets going on this. The numbers are getting worse, they are not getting better. We have a responsibility. We need to get active in this. There are not enough people fighting.”
The Atlanta conference followed in the foot steps of the First Annual “Hedge Funds vs. Malaria” Leadership conference held in New York City, September 20, 2005. The Atlanta conference represents the first conference hosted by a university and organized in partnership with the Malaria Foundation International. “This new model serves to engage people of all ages, backgrounds, and professions,” said Dr. Mary Galinski, founder of the MFI and a member of the faculty at Emory University. “Malaria continues to be masked by the higher profile of other diseases and disasters, even within sophisticated university structures, while 3,000 children keep dying each and every day from this preventable and treatable disease. We need to take unique approaches and a bold stand to bring continuous attention, more intellectual capacity and financial support to this problem. That is what this conference is about.”
Individuals from across Emory’s campus became involved and many helped by motivating their friends, colleagues and family members. Dr. Jeffery Koplan, Vice President for Academic Health Affairs stressed how this conference was particularly important in the context of Emory University’s focus on global health initiatives and how malaria is germane particularly to this university. Professor Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, from the School of Law, introduced economist Professor Jeffery Sachs, but first described the profound impact of malaria in his home country Sudan and stressed the need for political will and a sense of urgency to eradicate the disease. Dr. Holli Semetko, Vice Provost for International Affairs, emphasized Emory’s particular concern for fighting malaria and global health problems of poor countries, as she introduced IBM’s Ann Wilson Cramer. Dr. Jeff Rosenzweig, an Associate Professor of International Business and Finance, expressed his enthusiasm that Goizueta Business School students were getting involved in a follow-up MFI sponsored meeting to learn how they can apply their business training and skills to help with this malaria battle. He then introduced Phyllis Kurlander Costanza, a Trustee of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
The conference organizers reached out to involve business, foundation and government leaders, recognizing this as the first step of a constant process that will continue towards involving an increasing number of business executives including Hedge Fund managers from Atlanta – and beyond. “We want all companies to ask how they can participate, and especially those carrying out business in the affected countries,” said Dr. Cindy Korir, a malaria research scientist from Emory University and a Kenyan national who serves as a Project Coordinator and African Liaison for the MFI.
Many of the attendees and participants represented various countries throughout Africa, South America and Asia, which are among the 90 to 100 countries afflicted by the disease. All speakers had clear strong messages, a number with first hand experiences with malaria, and each aiming to both educate and draw in supporters in the fight of this deadly yet completely preventable and treatable disease.
The webcast is both educational and moving, involving malaria fighting experts like Professor Wen Kilama of Tanzania and other charismatic champions who can relate to the masses. Among them, retired NBA basketball player Steffond Johnson emphasized the need to care and for high profile sports figures to become involved. Adventurer David Robertson showed video clips of his “Drive Against Malaria” campaign in Africa and relayed how everyone’s combined efforts are all about saving the children. The webcast will serve the purpose of sharing this event with many audiences around the globe and garnering increasing support against this disease from new and diverse sources. The conference succeeded in initiating a new university-based momentum to help raise the awareness and consciousness of individuals in the United States. It also promoted projects such as “Student Leaders Against Malaria,” “Drive Against Malaria” and “Dunk Malaria,” which can involve students and adults of all ages. The main goal shared by the Hedge Fund leaders and the MFI is for everyone in the United States to be aware that millions of children die of malaria, literally thousands each and every day, and that this is unbelievable and undeniably unacceptable.
In closing, Dr. Galinski encouraged everyone to frequent the MFI website to learn more about current malaria awareness and fundraising, education, research and control projects, which will benefit from both financial and volunteer support.
For more information please contact the following individuals and visit the MFI website, www.malaria.org, for regular updates.
Dr. Mary R. Galinski, Founder and President, MFI
Head, Malaria Research and Education Programs, Emory University
Dr. Cindy Korir, Project Coordinator and African Liaison, MFI
Scientist, Malaria Research and Education Programs, Emory University
Mr. Lance Laifer, Co-founder of Hedge Funds vs. Malaria