Idealism is alive and well: Clinton at BIO; upcoming play about a drug manufacturing heroine

The annual BIO conference is coming to Chicago in May. We hope that violentBIO protests and tragedy aren't part of the scene this year. Former President Bill Clinton will be a plenary speaker at the event. Clinton, who is doing more than most former presidents to show that there is life after Pennsylvania Avenue, has been addressing world problems with a refreshing combination of idealism and business sense. Not that any one individual could solve these problems, but his foundation has been making strides, increasing the supply of AIDS therapies in developing nations, tackling children's health issues and other issues. Clinton's foundation has signed supply agreements with pharma companies that will halve the cost of antiretrovirals and other AIDS treatments in many countries. KraisintuI also learned that the playwright and director Ping Chong is working on a play about "AIDS warrior" Krisana Kraisintu, a drug manufacturing idealist who brought affordable generic AIDS treatments to Thailand and Vietnam, and is now working to bring them to Congo, Eritrea, and Tanzania. Her background is not unlike some of your's: B.S. in pharmacy, M.S. in analytical pharmacy, Ph.D. in pharmaceutical chemistry, experience in quality assurance, manufacturing, research and development and in business development. For an inspiring tribute and interview with her broadcast on NPR click here. Not that Clinton or Kraisintu are "old, " by any means. Particularly at a time when "50 is the new 40," and "60 the new 50," but their examples do point out the fact that one needn't be limited and defined by one career. In a world obsessed by youth, examples like theirs remind me of the line from Browning's poem Rabbi Ben Ezra "grow old along with me, the best is yet to be...the last of life for which the first was made." Idealism is not only for the young---and when it's joined with wisdom, training and experience, there's no limit to what it can do. -AMS