On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced the birth of their daughter, Max, in a gorgeous open letter on Facebook.
“Your mother and I don’t yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future,” the letter begins. “Your new life is full of promise, and we hope you will be happy and healthy so you can explore it fully. You’ve already given us a reason to reflect on the world we hope you live in.”
And from there, they do. While technically addressed to their daughter, the letter is, in fact, an open call for the world to change how we view advancing society — and it’s absolutely beautiful. In particular, Zuckerberg delves deep into how important it is that we all do our part to build a better future for generations to come. He hopes for a world where we can work to eradicate disease and suffering, so that we can focus our energy on making humanity better as a whole.
“Our hopes for your generation focus on two ideas: advancing human potential and promoting equality,” Zuckerberg writes. “Advancing human potential is about pushing the boundaries on how great a human life can be. . . Promoting equality is about making sure everyone has access to these opportunities — regardless of the nation, families or circumstances they are born into.”
The key to both of these goals, Zuckerberg argues, is education: In particular, increasing global access to it through the Internet. The web is arguably the most essential modern tool the world has for spreading information — yet, as Zuckerberg points out, billions of people still don’t have access to it. By changing this, we can help level the playing field and provide important health information and job opportunities to millions. This change wouldn’t happen overnight, but by setting the wheels in motion, we have the chance to create change for Max’s generation and beyond.
“People often think of the internet as just for entertainment or communication,” Zuckerberg writes. “But for the majority of people in the world, the internet can be a lifeline.”
Of course, advancements in technology aren’t the only things we need to work on; but that doesn’t make them any less essential. More than that, Zuckerberg hopes that these advancements and changes in Internet access can help service the world’s greater need for increased, interpersonal communication — which ultimately helps global equality in more ways than one. A greater understanding (and acceptance) of the diversity of people will only make bigotry and discrimination less prevalent in the long-term.
Both Zuckerberg and Chan are dedicated to making sure this is the case, and in their letter, announced the launch of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative — along with the generous amount of money they planned to dedicate to it. The Initiative’s goal is to help make the letter’s hopes a reality, and make considerable strides in creating a better world for generations to come.
“Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities,” Zuckerberg writes. “We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.”
“Max, we love you and feel a great responsibility to leave the world a better place for you and all children,” the letter ends. “We wish you a life filled with the same love, hope and joy you give us. We can’t wait to see what you bring to this world.”
It’ll be a while yet before little Max will actually be able to read this letter — and probably even longer before she can fully understand its weight — but we think its message speaks volumes.
(Image via Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook.)