America's 43rd commander in chief George W. Bush celebrates his 66th birthday today, and he does so in an unlikely place for a president famously averse to travel overseas: sub-Saharan Africa, where he is on tour to promote the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Bush had achieved several milestones before assuming the presidency in 2001. He graduated from Yale University and Harvard Business School, served in the Texas Air National Guard and was the 46th governor of Texas.
From the beginning, Bush's presidency was marred with controversy. He was elected to serve in the White House despite getting less popular votes nationwide than his opponent Al Gore. Bush had 246 electoral votes while Gore had 255, with 270 needed to win. Florida's 25 electoral votes held the key to victory - and they were awarded to him after the Supreme Court stopped a recount, effectively awarding victory to Bush.
During his tenure as president, Bush would face many major obstacles.
About eight months into his presidency, the 9/11 terrorist attacks shook America and the world and provoked a response that became the War on Terror, which saw the U.S. and allies invade Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003). He signed into law broad tax cuts, and also shied away from the Kyoto Protocol for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In 2005, Bush caught flak for his administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. But when an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Bush, by then a former president, teamed up with his predecessor Bill Clinton to form the Clinton Bush Haiti fund to help with relief efforts.
Though he has remained large out of the public eye since his tenure ended, Bush continues to work on women's health issues in Africa.
In 2003, he asked Congress to commit some $15 billion over five years to help fight HIV and Aids in Africa. Today, Bush is promoting cervical cancer detection and treatment programs for women in Zambia, many of whom are currently living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
We care because we believe that to whom much is given, much is required, Bush told Catholic Online. And those of us who live in America, live in the most blessed nation ever and therefore when we see suffering, we ought to act.
He also launched a $3 million initiative to fight cervical cancer in Botswana during his Africa tour, reported the Agence France-Presse. The report also stated that the project is funded by the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief with support from the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partnership.