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10th - Larry Brilliant - Sustaining Humanity

Event Type
Guest Lecture
Larry Brilliant, MPH, MD
Center for Sustainable Systems
School of Natural Resources and Environment
School of Public Health
Office of Vice President for Research
March 16, 20113:30pm - 5:00pm
Rackham Auditorium, 915 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor

Dr. Larry Brilliant, University of Michigan alumnus and president of the Skoll Global Threats Fund, delivers the 10th Annual Peter M. Wege Lecture on Sustainability. The lecture begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Rackham Auditorium, and is followed by a public reception.

Dr. Brilliant joined Skoll Global Threats Fund after serving three years as a Google VP and the first executive director of, the company’s philanthropic arm. He is a medical doctor and MPH, board-certified in preventive medicine. He lived and worked in India for 10 years and was one of a four-person United Nations' team that led the successful World Health Organization smallpox eradication program in India and South Asia. He later founded the Seva Foundation, whose projects have given back sight to nearly 3 million people worldwide through their work to eliminate preventable and curable blindness.

In 1985, he co-founded The Well, a pioneering digital community and he holds a telecom systems patent. He was a professor of international policy and epidemiology at the University of Michigan and has authored two books and dozens of scientific articles on infectious diseases, blindness and international health policy. He volunteered as a physician during several disasters, including the Asian Tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia and the Bihar Floods. After the anthrax attacks in the United States in 2001, he volunteered as a first responder for the Centers for Disease Control's bio-terrorism effort.

Dr. Brilliant chairs the National Bio-Surveillance Advisory Subcommittee, created by Presidential directive, and is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on Catastrophic Risks. He was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2008. He sits on the boards of the Skoll Foundation and several other nonprofits.

Recent awards include Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People and top 20 Scientists and Thinkers (2008); UN Global Leadership Award (2008); TED Prize (2006); Peacemaker Award (2005); International Public Health Hero (2004); and two honorary doctorates. In 2009, The Final Inch, the documentary about polio eradication which Dr. Brilliant inspired and was funded by, was nominated for an Oscar.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Systems, the School of Natural Resources and Environment, Office of Vice President for Research, and the School of Public Health.

View Lecture and the Q&A session recordings.