As coronavirus cases inch towards 100 million worldwide, rapidly spreading mutations make effective distribution of vaccines all the more important. Melinda and Bill Gates will join Washington Post senior writer Frances Stead Sellers for a special Washington Post Live program focused on the impact of COVID-19 around the world, the rollout of vaccines, how to prioritize an equitable recovery and how to prepare for the next pandemic. Join the two-part conversation on Wednesday, Jan. 27, starting with Melinda Gates at 12:00 p.m. E.T., followed by Bill Gates at 12:30 p.m. E.T.

Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 12:00 p.m. ET - Melinda Gates

Melinda French Gates is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls. As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she shapes and approves the foundation’s strategies, reviews results, and sets the organization’s overall direction. Together, Melinda and Bill meet with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world. Through her work at the foundation over the last twenty years, Melinda has seen first-hand that empowering women and girls can transform the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies. Her work has led her to focus increasingly on gender equity as a lever for change. In 2015, Melinda founded Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company working to drive social progress for women and families in the United States. She is also the author of the bestselling book The Moment of Lift, in which she introduces readers to the inspiring women she has met during her work and travels around the world and shares her own journey to becoming an advocate for women and girls. Melinda grew up in Dallas, Texas, as the second of four children. She received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics from Duke University in 1986 and an M.B.A. from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 1987. Melinda spent the first decade of her career developing multimedia products at Microsoft, and was later appointed General Manager of Information Products, before leaving the company to focus on her family and philanthropic work. Melinda lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband, Bill. They have three children, Jenn, Rory, and Phoebe.

Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 12:30 p.m. ET - Bill Gates

Bill Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 1975, Bill Gates founded Microsoft with Paul Allen and led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software and services. In 2008, Bill transitioned to focus full-time on his foundation’s work to expand opportunity to the world’s most disadvantaged people. Along with co-chair Melinda Gates, he leads the foundation’s development of strategies and sets the overall direction of the organization. In 2010, Bill, Melinda, and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge, an effort to encourage the wealthiest families and individuals to publicly commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations during their lifetime or in their will. In 2015, Bill created the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a group of individuals and entities committed to clean energy innovation, followed by Breakthrough Energy Ventures in 2016, an investor-led fund focused on providing patient capital to support cutting-edge clean energy companies