In September, a representative group of the 2017 winners of 120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders traveled from all over the world to Baltimore, from which they embarked on a week of workshops, discussions and celebrations. In all, 18 winners — 7 based in the United States, and 11 based internationally — took part in the events, which ran from September 18 to 22. It was a busy and fruitful week, with the winners acquiring new skills, expanding their networks, and sharing knowledge and resources with each other.

Tuesday, September 19

The week began in Baltimore, with most events taking place at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), the home of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute and 120 Under 40.

Tuesday began with an inspirational lecture titled “Evidence-Based Optimism: The Power of Public Health Advocacy,” from retired U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, a champion of women’s health during her four-decade political career (Sen. Mikulski is pictured with the winners).

During a lunch seminar titled “My Work, My Life: Stories from the Global Winners of 120 Under 40,” presentations were given by six winners — Anu Manchikanti Gomez (United States), Kinga Wisniewska (United Kingdom/Poland), Le Hoang Minh Son (Vietnam), Alison Hathaway (United States), Elizabeth Futrell (United States) and Kizanne James (United Kingdom/Trinidad & Tobago).

The afternoon included a session on behavior-change communication from Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP), and “The Power of Personal Storytelling,” a workshop on crafting personal narratives around family planning led by Laura Wexler of The Stoop Storytelling Series.

Wednesday, September 20

The winners returned to JHSPH for a session on Advance Family Planning’s AFP SMART advocacy framework. They also gleaned creative ways to visualize public data through the Making Data Fun session led by Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020), and learned about the resources on urban reproductive health available from The Challenge Initiative (TCI). (AFP, PMA2020 and TCI are the Gates Institute’s major projects.)

The evening reception at JHSPH brought together JHSPH faculty, staff and students to celebrate and hear from the winners. Presentations were given by four additional winners: Abdulmumin Saad (United States), Garima Mathias (India), Elspeth Williams (United States) and Allen Kabagenyi (Uganda) (pictured at right). Special guest speakers at the reception included Michael J. Klag, outgoing Dean of JHSPH; Klaus Brill, Vice President of Global HealthCare Programs, Bayer AG; and Cynthia Minkovitz, Chair of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health (the Gates Institute’s home at JHSPH).

Thursday, September 21

The group traveled to Washington DC for a “fireside chat,” an informal conversation with Oying Rimon, Director of the Gates Institute and Chair of the 120 Under 40 jury; Klaus Brill, Vice President for Global Healthcare Programs at Bayer AG; and Jennifer Pope, Director of Family Planning and Reproductive Health at PSI. The fireside chat was a way for these established leaders in the field to share their expertise and advice and discuss youth engagement in family planning as a two-way conversation with the winners. Gwen Mayes, Deputy Director of Advocacy Relations, Women’s Healthcare, at Bayer, hosted the discussion, titled “The Power of Your Voice: The Essential Role Young Leaders Play in Family Planning Advocacy.” Following that was a lunchtime presentation on PSI’s Adolescents 360 program.

The group went on an afternoon sightseeing tour of Washington DC, visiting key landmarks including the U.S. Capitol Building (pictured at right), Franklin Delano Roosevelt Monument, Martin Luther King Jr. Monument, and others.

The day concluded with a session at Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), where the winners learned about FP2020 country resources, and an evening reception co-hosted by Gates Institute and FP2020 at the United Nations Foundation. Winner Mbencho Andrew Millan delivered a presentation about his life and work in Cameroon; Martyn Smith, Managing Director of FP2020, and Marianne Amoss, 120 Under 40 Project Lead and Communications Officer, Gates Institute, also made remarks. Serving as emcee was Emily Sullivan, Youth Engagement Manager at FP2020.

Friday, September 22

For their final day, the group traveled to Population Council’s office in New York City, where they shared a private lunch with Population Council President Julia Bunting. The afternoon featured two panel discussions. The first, “My Work, My Life: Stories from the Global Winners of 120 Under 40,” was moderated by Marianne Amoss and featured presentations by five winners — Maia Freudenberger (Madagascar), Norhan Bader (Egypt), Kelly McClure (United States), Nissily Mushani (Malawi) and Ashish Bajracharya (Cambodia/Nepal). The second panel, titled “The Power of Partnerships: Young People and Family Planning” was hosted by FP2020 Executive Director Beth Schlachter and included Klaus Brill of Bayer, Siddhartha Goyal of Nivi Inc. and winner Jennifer Amadi (Nigeria).

The week concluded on a high note, with the reception and awards ceremony — a celebratory event attended by friends and family of the winners, and staff and heads of major organizations including Katja Iversen of Women Deliver, Benoit Kalasa and Jagdish Upadhyay (retired) of UNFPA, Ann Starrs of Guttmacher, and Judith Bruce and John Bongaarts of Population Council.

Special guest speakers included Christopher Elias, President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Natalia Kanem, the newly named Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Christoph Geueke, Senior Vice President for Global Brand Management at Bayer AG; and 2016 winners Tlaleng Mofokeng and Jean Christophe Rusatira. Julia Bunting of Population Council, Beth Schlachter of FP2020 and Oying Rimon of the Gates Institute co-hosted the reception/awards ceremony.

Winners who were not present at the celebrations were invited to tune in to the livestream of a number of sessions (including the reception/awards ceremony, which was livestreamed on the 120 Under 40 Facebook page), and will also be able to access the recordings of the sessions.

Many of the winners have been featured on Family Planning Voices – search for “120 Under 40” on the website to find them. Additional winners were interviewed during the Celebrations week, and excerpts from those interviews will be published on the FP Voices site in the coming months.

Some winners have also been featured in the media; a running list of media coverage of the project and winners can be found at the 120 Under 40 website

We extend our heartfelt thanks to our partner organizations — especially our project sponsor, Bayer AG — that have supported 120 Under 40!

World Contraception Day

120 Under 40’s second year officially wrapped up on September 26, World Contraception Day (WCD), a day dedicated to improving awareness of contraception and enabling young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.

The Gates Institute and 120 Under 40 hosted the first-ever WCD event at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in partnership with the Anna Baetjer Society for Public Health Practice, an MPH student group.

Activities during the WCD event included family planning-themed trivia (with prizes!), the FP Voices Installation and person-on-the-street interviews about family planning with the FP Voices team, a display of contraceptive devices from around the world (courtesy of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Communication Programs), and contraceptive-themed cupcakes and cookies.

Members of the Anna Baetjer Society dressed up in creative contraceptive-themed costumes and energized the crowd.

We also gave away free condoms (courtesy of the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, or IYAFP) and information about World Contraception Day, the Gates Institute and 120 Under 40, and FP Voices. The room was packed with students, faculty and staff!

Check out 2017 winner Elizabeth Futrell’s op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, “What Does Access to Contraception Mean to You?” which was published on World Contraception Day. Liz is a founding member and lead interviewer for FP Voices.

View photos from the WCD Celebration at the Gates Institute’s website.

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