Ambassador Mark Dybul's Closing Remarks at the 2008 HIV/AIDS Implementers’ Meeting

Ambassador Mark Dybul, PEPFAR Coordinator
Closing Remarks at the 2008 HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting
Kampala, Uganda
June 7, 2008

Your Excellency, the First Lady of Uganda, Mrs. Museveni – also a member of parliament, so, double honorable, double Excellency, and even more honorable and excellent because of the great leadership you have shown focusing on youth, changing behaviors to show the world how we can respond to a global epidemic. Honorable Co-Chair, Minister of the Presidency, your Excellency Wabudeya. Joy Phumaphi, Vice President of the World Bank, thank you for that excellent presentation. Thank you for your leadership and for all of your partnership and for the activities of the World Bank on HIV and health systems in general.

Michel Sidibe, Dr. Apuuli, ministers and dignitaries of the government of Uganda and other countries. Co-sponsors of this meeting, The Global Fund and UNAIDS. Special thanks to Peter Piot and Michel Kazatchkine, who were here earlier in the week, took time out of their busy schedules to be here, Helen Evans is also here. The World Bank, of course, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization.

I actually speak in this closing session not on behalf of PEPFAR but as the Co-Chair of this meeting on behalf of the co-sponsors, and we thank the government and people of Uganda for the extraordinary work, dedication and effort that went into making this meeting a success; to the generosity and good humor, to the beautiful facilities, and for the beautiful country in which it was housed, so thank you very much for all that you’ve done and thank you for your partnership.


It’s been an exciting, stimulating and challenging few days. You, as HIV implementers, and therefore this meeting, are part of a global movement. It is part of a new era in development; an era in which we are rejecting notions of donors and recipients in a new era based on equality, because it begins in the belief in the dignity and worth of every human life. A new era of development that understands that all people, regardless of social or economic status, rightly have pride in themselves, their families, their communities and their nations, and know that they have much to contribute.

Since we are here in this beautiful country of Uganda, I thought I would tell a story that I think illustrates this new era of development, this new friendship among equals. There is an organization not far from Kampala, where we are meeting, where HIV positive women – many of whom became positive through sexual abuse and violence – care for themselves and for their children. They make an income by pounding rocks – large rocks – into rubble, so that they can be used for cement. These HIV positive women do this work to take care of their families and to contribute to their communities. When hurricane Katrina hit the United States and hit New Orleans, these women, who spend ten hours a day working hard to care for themselves, their families, and their communities, sent one hundred dollars to the people who had suffered from Katrina in the United States.


Those women are a vision for a new tomorrow where we all reach out to each other, where we contribute what we can, and all that we are, in the service of others.

Those women are the vision for a new era in development, and you, HIV implementers, are not just showing us the way in development; you are not just part of this historic new movement, this new era in development; you are, in fact, leading this new era in development, and so let’s dare to keep dreaming, let’s continue to have the temerity to hope. Let’s work in partnership to serve one another and to achieve an HIV free generation, and in so doing, change the world.

Thank you.

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