Yesterday I had the honor of joining a cadre of young leaders — university students and young professionals — in Seoul, Korea, as they joined the global movement to end malaria in Africa. Nets Go! is a new initiative providing Koreans the opportunity to send nets and save lives. During a three-day exhibit in Seoul City Plaza called “Night in Africa – Safe from Malaria,” thousands of Koreans were able to experience the simplicity and beauty of a $10 (10,000 Korean won) life-saving bed net through an artistic display of illuminated bed nets. 3,000 volunteers, representing the number of lives we are working to save each day from malaria, came to the heart of Seoul to show their support for ending this deadly disease by 2015.
The bed nets were not the only things beaming last night.
The smiles of 300 young leaders shined through the lingering rain clouds as students publicly took an oath to lead the movement to end malaria on their college campuses and communities as they return to school next week. To many Korean students, ending malaria in Africa is a personal commitment and an opportunity for them to support a local hero, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a native of Korea.
As we circled around Seoul City Plaza, hand-in-hand (a 19-year-old student from Hannam University to my left, and the President of a textile company to my right), I was reminded that we all are truly connected. No matter if we live in Seattle, Sea Isle, Senegal, or Seoul, we all have an impact on each other. In this interconnected world, the decisions we make influence others, and it was heartwarming to see 3,000 Korean students make the choice to join us in the global movement to end malaria. Together we really can cover a continent with life-saving bed nets!