James P. Grant is not a household name. But he most certainly should be. Grant lead UNICEF from 1979 until his death in 1995, and as Nick Kristof once wrote he “probably saved more lives than were destroyed by Hitler, Stalin and Mao combined.” He was a powerhouse in the UN bureaucracy and on the international stage. And now, for the first time, there is a full accounting of his life and work in the new biography titled A Mighty Purpose: How UNICEF’s James P Grant Sold the World on Saving Its Children.
On the line with me to discuss Grant is his biographer, Adam Fifield. Fifield describes how Grant spearheaded what is now known as the “child survival revolution” in the 1980s that lead to, among other things, the quadrupling of worldwide childhood immunization rates. Fifield vividly describes how Grant accomplished this achievement and many others on behalf of children of the world, often times through sheer force of nature.
International development nerds and global d0 gooders will love the stories Fifield shares about man who is responsible for saving millions upon millions of lives.