Aspen Ideas Festival: Dr. Brilliant and Dr. Smolinski Share their Vision for a World Without Pandemics

Our Chairman, Dr. Larry Brilliant, and our Chief Medical Officer and Director of Global Health Threats, Dr. Mark Smolinski, participated in multiple panel discussions at the Aspen Ideas festival last week.

Larry discussed his spiritual public health journey and his book Sometimes Brilliant in an interview with Walter Isaacson, the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, while Mark reflected on the challenges in tailoring healthcare to different communities and cultures in a panel focused on discrimination in health care.

Mark also kicked off the festival’s Spotlight Health sessions with a brave idea of a global disease surveillance system that can end pandemics in our lifetime, stating: “If we use the power of the people already spread across the globe to be the canaries in the coal mine and report human illness, animal illness, and environmental concerns, then we can get a giant step ahead in finding the next outbreak before it spreads into an epidemic and certainly before it spreads across the globe. Informed consent, Informed people, informed world.”

You can find a link here:

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Jeff Skoll Honored with 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy

Jeff Skoll was announced today as a recipient of the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

This prestigious award recognizes outstanding philanthropists who personify Andrew Carnegie’s beliefs and create a world of positive change.

“The recipients of the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy were selected for their distinguished and longstanding contributions to the public good,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “The medal reflects Andrew Carnegie’s enduring legacy of philanthropy and is rooted in two core principles. First: with wealth comes responsibility. Second: individuals, whether guided by religious, civic, humanistic, or democratic aspirations, have the transformative power to use wealth for the betterment of humankind.”

In addition to Jeff, the full list of 2017 honorees include:

  • Mei Hing Chak China; HeungKong Charitable Foundation
  • H. F. (Gerry) and Marguerite Lenfest U.S.A.; Lenfest Foundation
  • Azim Premji India; Azim Premji Foundation
  • Julian Robertson U.S.A.; Robertson Foundation
  • Kristine McDivitt Tompkins U.S.A.; Tompkins Conservation
  • Shelby White U.S.A.; Leon Levy Foundation
  • Sir James D. Wolfensohn U.S.A. and Australia; Wolfensohn Center for Development

This is a great honor for Jeff and all of us who support his vision for a better world.

 You can find more details about the award at the link here:



Experts Identify 12 Major Epicenters of Climate-Related Risks to International Security

Today, our grantee, the Center for Climate and Security, released a report supported by the Skoll Global Threats Fund titled, Epicenters of Climate and Security: The New Geostrategic Landscape of the Anthropocene.  

Announced at the Fourth Annual Deserts Conference at Oxford University, the report presents a compelling case for why tackling these climate and security “epicenters” – major categories of climate-driven risks to international security – should be a top priority for governments and institutions around the world.

The report includes analysis of 12 significant climate and security epicenters (also presented in a video animation). These epicenters were chosen as risks to critical parts of the international nation-state system (food, water, trade, health, cities, sovereignty) that can ripple out into serious global security crises, especially if happening in tandem.

Bessma Mourad, Program Officer for our work on water, and Amy Luers, our Director of Climate Change, authored a chapter on managing systemic risks.

The report is published in partnership with The American Security Project, Carnegie Mellon University, The Planetary Security Initiative, and the Oxford University School of Geography and Environment.

Press Release: