We can make a difference in the life of people with disabilities and in our own life.
Discussion on Mental Health around the movie Jean Vanier : the Sacrament of Tenderness - Introductory remarks by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the Unites Nations - 18 October 2018
Thank you so much Judy, you are quite amazing.
I would like first to thank Judy for her contagious energy and her hard work. We have known each other for years. And one thing I’ve learnt is never say no to Judy.
Je vais dire un mot en français d’abord pour vous dire combien avec mon équipe, Mylaèle Negga, qui nous a tant aidés, avec Hayet Zeggar et toute l’équipe ici, je suis immensément heureux d’être avec vous ce soir pour une rencontre qui n’est pas une rencontre comme les autres, et à laquelle je vous remercie tous et chacun de participer.
Nous sommes réunis en effet ce soir pour rendre hommage à un grand, un très grand monsieur, Jean Vanier, qui a dédié sa vie entière à l’accompagnement des personnes atteintes de maladies mentales. Cette cause touche au plus profond de nous-mêmes, au plus profond de cette humanité, de cet humanisme dont Jean Vanier est un géant.
Citoyen canadien, ayant servi son pays dans la marine, Jean Vanier a choisi de poursuivre son engagement, en France, auprès des plus vulnérables. Et en tant qu’Ambassadeur de France, mais aussi à titre personnel, je dois dire que Jean Vanier est l’une des personnes que j’admire le plus en ce monde.
Jean Vanier, to whom we pay tribute this evening, has indeed dedicated his entire lifetime to support people with mental disabilities. He is one of the true heroes of our time, whose commitment to helping others is second to none, and is a source of admiration and inspiration for us all, and certainly for the United Nations and for what the UN is all about.
And to introduce Jean Vanier, there could be no better person and professional than Frédérique Bedos, whose life and commitment are also deeply inspiring and who directed the extraordinary documentary we are about to see. Frédérique Bedos is another national and international treasure. She has come especially from Paris to be with us and for us this evening. Frédérique, I am deeply grateful to you. Encore un applaudissement. Je sais que cela ne te montera pas à la tête.
Supporting, and loving, and giving a hand to people with disabilities, but also learning from them is, I believe, Jean’s and Frédérique’s core message. Following the World Mental Health Day, on October 10th, we are all gathered here today to reaffirm this message together.
According to a report by the World Health Organization and the World Bank published in 2015, around 15% of the world population is suffering from mental health disorders. They are our sisters and brothers. In the UN world, France is therefore committed to the Group of Friends of Mental Health. And here I would like to express my warmest thanks to Canada, Belgium and Bahrein, founders of this group and co-sponsors of this event, for our important and ongoing partnership in this area.
I would also like to thank the World Health Organization office at the United Nations, which is co-sponsoring this event, – represented by Dr Menabde Natela, its Executive Director – with a very special word of appreciation to Dr. Judy Kuriansky, whom I cannot thank enough on behalf of all of us for her exemplary dedication to our common cause. They have both highlighted this extremely important issue, making it a high priority here at the United Nations.
Last but not least, I would also like to recognize the city of New York’s commitment to providing support to persons with mental health conditions and in particular Mrs Megan Van Harte from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She is with us this evening and will speak in a few minutes. The city of New York will present on this occasion “ThriveNYC”, its unprecedented commitment to creating a mental health system that truly works for everyone. This example of best practices will certainly be a source of inspiration and will serve as a good starting point for today’s panel discussion.
I promised not to be too long because I want Judy to invite me again. On a more serious note, my warmest thanks to all of you from the bottom of my heart. If we, my dear friends, are committed, and I mean truly committed, each and every one of us, we can make a difference, a big difference in the life of people with disabilities and in our own life.
Un grand merci à tous.