Creative Nonfiction History

My Conversation with Bill Gates

Bill Gates in 2010
Photo by U.S. Treasury Dept. via Wiki Commons

Bill Gates is a world changer who happens to be one of the wealthiest individuals in history. He’s EVEN got over 8 million followers on Twitter which I’m sure is what will dominate his tombstone one day.

So imagine my surprise when he answered a question of mine in less than an hour.

I had watched a news segment last year about how Bill and Melinda Gates were working on a number of major initiatives around the globe including an effort to get polio out of India for good. Despite generations of people in wealthy nations being vaccinated as children, some countries have still been unable to enjoy such benefits.

I found Bill Gates on Twitter earlier this summer and learned about #askbillg, a hashtag that allows people to send him questions. I was curious about progress in the fight against polio so I sent this out.

He responded within an hour.

The LA Times OpEd he sent by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was loaded with great info including this line from paragraph 5:

“Most recently, we visited India, which just two years ago was home to half of all the world’s children with polio. Now, thanks to a concerted drive, we were able to celebrate India’s first polio-free year in history.”

I also learned that polio currently survives in only 3 more countries–Pakistan, Nigeria, and Afghanistan–though there is plenty of work still left to do. He even revisited the topic the next day and added another tweet about the work in India.

Sorry, but that’s just too cool. Thanks to Twitter we have this amazing access. Not only can we engage our favorite entertainers, authors, and the like; we can even engage and hear from world leaders, some of the people who are responsible for literally altering our civilization.

That’s awesome.

Teachers should have Bill Gates on their radar. First of all, his blog The Gates Notes is constantly loaded with all kinds of resources for educators. Another great idea is to have your kids or students try to connect with Gates. What a cool classroom or family activity! And he’ll likely respond.

Have you ever communicated with any world leaders?

By Clay Morgan

Clay Morgan is the author of Undead. Say hi on Twitter.