What I learned from the leaders

Director General of the WHO, Dr. Chan, and me

After 4 days at the 65th World Health Assembly in Geneva. I have learned one very important thing from some of the health ministers and delegates that I met: “humbleness.” This one simple word encompasses so much. I got a very rare chance to meet and a take a picture with the Director General of the WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan. She is a petite woman filled with humor and determination. You could sense a special aura coming off of her. She gave a vibe of strength, yet at the same time humbleness. When we asked her for a picture, she did not hesitate and told us to go ahead. While we apologized for taking up her time, she just said “I am your servant.” Such words coming from one of the most important and powerful women in the world made me realize this is why she is a leader.

Another very important person made a lasting impression on me was the Australian Minister of Health and Aging, Professor Jane Halton. When we first met her she was talking passionately about Australia’s fight against the tobacco companies. They are being sued by the tobacco companies because of the new law on cigarette packaging. After her motivational talk against tobacco, we had a change to meet her and interviewed her. She gladly obliged to our request and was very excited about our work here at the WHA. I happened to meet her by chance the next day at a coffee lounge while our group was blogging. I thanked her for yesterday and told her that our group was here. Although her team was
waiting for her, she personally came over to our group to say hello and congratulate us on our works. Her friendliness and humbleness was very memorable.

Meeting many of these world leaders and delegates made me realize how important your attitude can change the whole conversation and situation. I remembered that my grandmother used to tell me that “money and education can only get you out the door, but humility and humbleness will get you far in life”. Meeting these wonderful health ministers and delegates has made me realize how true my grandmother words become.

Jenny Quynh Nguyen

(posted on Jenny’s behalf)

One Comment

  1. Jaja says:

    Jenny that's a great and accurate description of Dr Chan and I am entirely with you on this one. She enchanted me as well…


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