As I was reading Klara and the Sun, I couldn’t help but think about which parts of it paint a picture of our likely future—and which parts were pure fiction.
I just returned from my visit to India, and I can’t wait to go back again.
I love visiting India because every trip is an incredible opportunity to learn.
During my travels last week in Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, I met some amazing people, including political leaders, bureaucrats, philanthropists, and scientists, who taught me how they are using the power of innovation, science, and collaboration to find solutions to the world’s health, climate, and development challenges.
Along the way, I met a teen bridge champion, had fun conversations with two of India’s most popular YouTubers, and I even drove an electric rickshaw!
But instead of telling you about it, let me show you. Here are some photos from my trip and some of the stories behind them:
Time with India’s PM: It was an honor to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and talk about how India is championing progress in areas like health, financial inclusion, women’s economic empowerment, and digitization. I am excited to see how India can play a key role in making progress on today’s biggest challenges.
Tackling TB: My trip to India started in Mumbai, where I visited an urban health center that offers primary health services and serves as a first point of contact for tuberculosis (TB) patients. India has the world’s highest TB burden. That’s why facilities like this and the health workers who run them are so critical for saving lives.
A great conversation: Shraddha Jain (popularly known as AiyyoShraddha), a very funny comedian, joined me for the tour of the urban health center. She and I had a wonderful talk afterwards about India’s goals towards reducing TB and how Mumbai has been a leader in trying new approaches.
Meeting a champion: When I go to a bridge tournament, I’m always one of the youngest players. It’s not a card game kids play. That’s why I was thrilled to meet Anshul Bhatt in Mumbai. Last year at the age of just 13, Anshul won three gold medals and became the youngest winner at the World Youth Bridge Championship. I’m amazed by his ability to win at bridge on the world stage. And I hope other young people learn to play bridge, one of my favorite pastimes.
Climate smarts: My first morning in Delhi I traveled to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute to learn about the advanced technologies being used to develop crops that are resistant to drought, flooding, and other extreme weather. What’s exciting is how this institute is sharing its innovations to help farmers around the world adapt to climate change.
MostlySane: YouTuber, blogger, and actor, Prajakta Koli, also known as MostlySane, joined me at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute to learn about the climate resilient crops under development. Prajakta is a member of our foundation’s Goalkeepers Advisory Group, supporting the global effort to fight poverty, disease, and inequity around the world.
Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture: It was an honor to deliver the Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture hosted by Indian Express, an Indian English-language daily newspaper. The lecture is named after the newspaper’s founder. I shared my perspective about the biggest problems facing the world, my belief in the power of scientific innovation and how it can help in addressing current and emerging global challenges across energy, adaptation, and health. Anant Goenka, the Executive Director at The Indian Express, and I sat down for an interview after the lecture.
Better nutrition: During a meeting with Smriti Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development for India, we prepared and fed millet khichdi to pregnant mothers. I then participated in the Annaparashan ritual, a Hindu rite of passage that marks an infant's first intake of food other than milk. I fed a young child kheer, a sweet pudding made from rice millet. I congratulated the minister on the significant progress her team is making to promote nutrition in India.
On the road to a zero-carbon world: What has three wheels, zero emissions, and makes no noise? This electric rickshaw I drove in Delhi. It’s called the Mahindra Treo and I had a lot of fun taking it for a drive. It’s always exciting to see new innovations like this helping to fight climate change.
Talking digital transformation: As part of the G20 Summit in New Delhi, I delivered a speech and participated in a discussion at an event focused on the role digital tools and applications—things like ID systems, data-exchange platforms, and payment systems—can play in transforming the lives of low-income people and women.
Seeing digital transformation: In Bangalore, I visited the urban community of Halasuru to learn about how digital banking can help reach poor communities and underserved communities. The India Postal Service launched the India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) over four years ago. Postal workers, who are very trusted in the community, provide banking services at the doorstep of their customers. I was able to see one woman open a bank account with IPBB easily using India’s national digital ID system, also known as Aadhaar.
Raisina Dialogues: I was invited to participate in the Raisina Dialogues, an annual high-level conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics. This year’s Raisina Dialogues were part of the G20. I was part of a fascinating panel discussion focused on exploring lessons from the past few years and opportunities that can be leveraged to advance global goals for health, food security, and climate change.
As you can see, I had a very busy week. But my travels left me truly inspired and optimistic about the future. As big as the problems facing the world are right now, my visit to India reminded me that our capacity to solve them is even bigger.