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Oct 25, 2013 02:47 PM EDT

Harvard School of Public Health Honors Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton For Lifetime Contributions

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) honored former U.S. President Bill Clinton, his daughter Chelsea, and two others for their work in helping to shape public health care reforms, The Crimson reported.

The award winners embodied the "high ideals and practical determination" of the school, according to the program of events written by Dean of HSPH and event moderator Julio Frenk.

Clinton addressed the crowd emphasizing the importance of recognizing society's interconnectedness and using that knowledge to work together, The Crimson reported.

"Today you have recognized through us what the Harvard School of Public Health is all about-elevating our common humanity and building networks of cooperation in a world where we are more interdependent and power is more diffuse," Clinton said. "The 21st century will truly belong to people like my daughter, of whom I'm so proud, and to the students.

"And those that think that what we have in common is more important than our differences."

Clinton, along with Jim Y. Kim, a HSPH graduate who currently serves as President of the World Bank Group, and Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former prime minister of Norway and director-general of the World Health Organization each received a Centennial Award, according to The Crimson.

Chelsea Clinton won the first-ever Next Generation Award for individuals under the age of 40 who've contributed to public health, The Crimson reported. Her contributions relating to healthcare access in developing countries, childhood obesity, and preventable diseases were captured by a brief montage after a few words by Fenk. Given the age distinction of her award, she commented on how younger people can impact the health movement.

"To make change, you have to have some fundamental dissatisfaction, and I think young people are disproportionately qualified to do that," she said. "I think we haven't succumbed yet in general to cynicism or inertia or patience."

Clinton,vice chair of The Clinton Foundation, has also been active in asking juvenile detention centers to more strictly monitor the health and nutrition of detainees' children, according to The Associated Press.

Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland was honored for her environmental contributions and emphasized as much during her speech.

"Health for us is crucial and central, but global health is linked to human rights, education, and the environmental concerns that we are creating in the way that we are dealing with each other and with the planet," said the first honoree Gro H. Brundtland, an HSPH graduate who formerly served as the prime minister of Norway and as the first female Director-General of the World Health Organization. "The [worst] thing that is challenging all of humanity is climate change."

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