'For being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow, Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono are Time's Persons of the Year.'
TIME Magazine has named Bono, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates as their 'Persons of the Year' for 2005. In its December 19th issue, out today, Managing Editor James Kelly said the three had been chosen as the people most effective at finding ways to eradicate such calamities as malaria in Africa, HIV and AIDS and the grinding poverty that kills 8 million people a year.
'When you look at the number of people who die from the kind of diseases and poverty that the Gates' and Bono are fighting, the death tolls are far greater than what occurs in natural disasters or wars,' Kelly said.
The founder of computer giant Microsoft and his wife were named for their work in the Gates Foundation, the world's biggest charity with a $29 billion endowment, while Bono was described as the 'rocker who has made debt reduction sexy.'
'Bono charmed and bullied and morally blackmailed the leaders of the world's richest countries into forgiving $40 billion in debt owed by the poorest,' said Time.
Bono said he was ' experiencing an unusual feeling. I think it's called being humbled.'
'There are a lot of people who could be here. What's really key is, all of us are in agreement that this can be a generation that can end extreme poverty. And by that we mean stupid, daft poverty where 3,000 kids are dying every day of a mosquito bite in Africa. Malaria. We can fix stuff like that. That's the kind of feelings I'm having right now.'
The Gates Foundation funds hundreds of projects around the world primarily focussed on public health, from vaccinating children to developing new drugs, as well as educational programs and scholarships in the United States and abroad. Bono explained how his work with DATA and the One Campaign had been supported by Bill and Melinda Gates.
'They have been our patrons since early on.' he said. 'A lot of people don't know that. Though we are coming from very different places, we are in agreement that this can be a generation that can eradicate extreme poverty. That's not a kind of wishful thinking, that's not misty-eyed rock star nonsense. This is a hardheaded business guy, and science based person.
'The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have been researching vaccines and really getting into the detailed work on how to achieve this. These are achievable goals. I'm a mouthpiece. I'm a rock star. I'm a very lucky man. But it's the tough stuff that will get this done, not the bleeding heart brigade.'