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Radcliffe Day 2023 in Photos

A cloudless blue sky behind the cupola atop the Knafel Center at Harvard Radcliffe Institute. The cupola sits between two large white tent spires set up for events at Radcliffe Day 2023.
Two tent spired surround the Knafel Center's cupola on a cloudless Radcliffe Day 2023. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

On Radcliffe Day 2023, we gathered to honor a leader who has dedicated her life to providing healthcare to the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

The Radcliffe Medalist Ophelia Dahl—cofounder, former executive director, and chair of the board of Partners In Health—spoke of the squalor and desperation she has witnessed and the small to large successes accomplished, with much more needing to be done to increase healthcare and resources to some of the poorest nations of the world.

Harvard Radcliffe Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin, who introduced Dahl and presented her with this year’s Radcliffe Medal, said the global healthcare leader has characterized pessimism as “a luxury of privilege,” which if left unchecked breeds indifference. Dahl’s unwavering optimism, she said, was an “intentional choice” we all must make.

“She keeps fighting and, in so doing, inspires all of us to do the same,” said Brown-Nagin.

Chelsea Clinton honored Dahl to start the day, which saw many Radcliffe alumnae and friends in attendance, celebrating Harvard Radcliffe Institute's highest ideals of excellence, inclusion, and social impact through a program that challenged us to work together to solve the world’s problems, to celebrate women, our heroes and their work, and to strive always—without pessimism—to do more.

This, in photos, was Radcliffe Day 2023.

The Radcliffe Medal recipient Ophelia Dahl acknowledges the audience’s warm applause at the start of Radcliffe Day 2023. Dahl, the internationally recognized social justice advocate and one of the founders of Partners In Health, was honored for her work advancing global access to healthcare and championing the rights of the poor. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Chelsea Clinton, who also serves on the Partners In Health board of trustees, honored Dahl and her work in a heartfelt speech before the panel. Clinton is vice chair of the Clinton Foundation and works alongside the foundation’s leadership and partners to improve lives and inspire emerging leaders across the United States and around the world. This includes the foundation’s early child initiative Too Small to Fail, which supports families with the resources they need to promote early brain and language development. “Ophelia’s life teaches us what is possible when a fierce intellect and an unbounded imagination are matched with a capacious heart and unflinching purpose to advance global health equity,” Clinton said. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

During a break in the morning’s events, Dahl took time to sit and talk with students from Watertown High School, who participated in Harvard Radcliffe Institute’s Emerging Leaders Program. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

The morning began with an esteemed panel of worldwide experts brought together to discuss the essential role of women leaders in global health. The panel probed links between disparate health outcomes for women and girls and the dearth of women leaders in the field and considered how best to address persistent gender gaps in global health leadership. From left to right, Jacqueline Bhabha, a professor of the practice of health and human rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, an adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the director of research at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, who moderated the panel; Agnes Binagwaho, a Rwandan pediatrician and the retired vice chancellor and cofounder of the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), an initiative of Partners In Health; Abby Maxman, president and CEO of Oxfam America; Natalia Kanem ’76, a United Nations under-secretary-general and executive director of the United Nations Population Fund; Reema Nanavaty, who has worked with the Self Employed Women’s Association in India for more than 35 years, expanding its membership to more than 2.1 million members and making it the single largest union of informal-sector women workers. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Harvard Radcliffe Institute Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin poses with Dahl and outgoing Harvard University President Lawrence S. Bacow. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Margaret H. Marshall, the 2012 Radcliffe Medalist and first woman to serve as chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, listens intently at Radcliffe Day 2023. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Natalia Kanem ’76 with her Bicentennial Radcliffe College classmates. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

John Green, the award-winning author of The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2012), interviewed Dahl prior to her receiving her award. Full of stories that were by turns funny and somber, Green is a Partners In Health trustee and Dahl’s good friend. At the end of their discussion, Green shared an anecdote from the pair’s 2018 trip to Sierra Leone, where Partners In Health is working to reduce maternal mortality. Green met a 16-year-old named Henry who, due to his untreated tuberculosis, was about the same size as Green’s eight-year-old son, also named Henry. After returning in 2023, Green again saw Henry, who is now cured of tuberculosis and studying human resource management at college (“Which sounds horrible, but it’s his interest,” Green joked). “The fact that he was able to access the newest regimen of TB drugs and survive TB after a thousand consecutive days at Lakka [Government Hospital] is a testament to what Partners In Health is doing,” said Green. Photo by Tony Rinaldo

“She keeps fighting and, in so doing, inspires all of us to do the same,” said Brown-Nagin (left) of Dahl (right). Photo by Tony Rinaldo

Mac Daniel is the associate director of communications and senior editor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

Return to the spring 2023 Radcliffe Magazine page.

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