By Philip Schueler
As the new year begins, new Global Studies visitors continue to educate and inspire the North Cross student body to become aware and engaged in global events around the world.
At morning assembly on Jan. 12, North Cross was treated to a surprise Global Studies presentation featuring Australian Damien Moloney, a logistician for the non-governmental organization, or NGO, Médecins Sans Frontières, known in English as Doctors Without Borders. Moloney returned for lunch on Jan. 16 to discuss in more detail his experiences with more than 20 Global Studies Scholars and other interested students.
Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF, is one of the most prestigious and respected NGOs working in the world today. Founded in 1971 and currently operating in over 70 countries worldwide, MSF is committed to providing quality medical care to people suffering from conflict and crises around the world, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or creed, while also remaining politically neutral in the areas it works in. Having served in global hotspots such as the Congo, Syria, and the Philippines, Moloney was able to enlighten the North Cross student body on the rigors of and rewards of being an MSF aid worker. As a logistician, Moloney's demanding work involves gathering and organizing materials, supplies, and transport for the doctors treating patients around the globe.
"Doctors are outcome focused," Moloney said, "they want the patient to go from unwell to well. My job is to make sure they've got everything around them that will make their job easier."
One of Moloney's most life-changing experiences in MSF occurred while he watched a young baby miraculously recover from malnutrition thanks to the efforts of one of his fellow doctors.
"We work in some awful places, say these malnutrition clinics ... and this day I think we had like nine or ten kids die in the space of six hours, and this little baby came in and the doctor managed to save him," Moloney said, "... and I think I realized three weeks later when we saw him running around and all his family was there that, these kids are going to look after their parents and their grandparents, and not having a child makes it hard for everybody."
While the crises and conflicts that occur worldwide are alarming and tragic, Moloney said that there is still hope for the next generation to make a difference.
"I think there's a lot of ways for young people, like high school kids, to get involved that don't involve spending money," Moloney said. "I think just knowing about these issues and doing some reading and talking to your parents and talking to each other is already taking a first step. We are at a point in time where we can find out about things really easily. Don't accept the status quo or that this is the way the world is. That's what drives me: not accepting that there's nothing I can do."
Moloney's presentation was well received by future Global Studies scholars and students interested in health care or working abroad. Shermeen Imam ('16) thought the speech and lunch with Moloney was interesting and thought provoking.
"I thought what Mr. Moloney said at both the assembly and at the lunch was interesting and intriguing," Imam said. "I have always loved the idea of helping others in the world who have less than what people here typically take for granted."
Maura Taaffe ('15), who wishes to work with MSF in the future, also enjoyed Moloney’s speech and his lunch visit.
"Mr. Moloney's visit meant a great deal to me," Taafe said. "My interest in [MSF] was sparked my sophomore year when we had a nurse from the organization visit. I found the way Mr. Moloney spoke about the people he worked with particularly inspiring."