Global engagement is a patriotic duty and leaders have a duty to protect it, Bill and Melinda Gates said Tuesday in an annual letter from The Gates Foundation, a charity the couple established in 2000.

Nationalism is a loaded term, but many people would agree to some extent that a country’s first obligation is to itself, Melinda wrote.

“Bill and I love our country. We believe in what it stands for. We agree that our leaders have a duty to protect it. And for all of those reasons, we consider global engagement our patriotic duty,” she added.

In an interview with Dpa to mark the release of the letter, Bill said the climate innovation he was most excited about was artificial meat: “I expect that product will get better and better.”

Asked whether he feels pressure to plug in funding gaps for development as some governments pull back, Gates said there was a “pretty strong moral obligation” for countries to keep contributing until there is a cure for AIDS, adding that the Gates Foundation could “in no way” plug the gap.

Many of the Gates Foundation development programs purposely prioritize women, Bill said, for example by using technology to improve their daily lives with high-tech toilets.

“There are a lot of things that are very empowering about those kinds of tools that we take for granted in richer countries,” the Microsoft co-founder said.

And on sexism in the tech industry, Bill said “egregious examples” of poor behavior in the workplace were valuable lessons for everyone.