Pasteur Foundation Annual Gala Dinner
Gotham Hall, New York, September 19, 2012.
Dear Professor Alice Dautry,
President of the Institut Pasteur,
Dear François Maisonrouge, Chairman of the American Advisory Board for the Pasteur Foundation et Chère Ketty,
Dear Christopher A. Viehbacher, our honoree tonight, CEO of Sanofi,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s a great pleasure and a great honor to be with you tonight for the Pasteur Foundation Annual Gala Dinner, and it’s so good to be back in New York and to see so many friends.
I would like to start by expressing France’s deep and eternal gratitude to our very dear friend Liz Fondaras. We all mourn this grande dame, this great lady whose contribution to the Pasteur Foundation and to the French-American friendship more broadly has been truly extraordinary. We owe her so much and will never forget her.
I would also like to express my warmest thanks to Liz’s successor, our new Chairman François Maisonrouge, for his commitment and dedication to the Pasteur Foundation. We are lucky to have François in this key position, with the enthusiastic support of his wife Ketty – two dear friends of Sophie’s and mine.
May I also thank all of you for your support to the Foundation, with a special word of appreciation to the Board members of the Institut Pasteur and the Pasteur Foundation and to our Gala Committee Chairs.
I also want to extend my warmest congratulations to Chris Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi, who will be receiving in a few minutes the prestigious Pasteur Foundation Award.
Chris and I have known each other for several years and he is a visionary leader for a global healthcare and pharmaceutical company.
Chris’s personal commitment, coupled with Sanofi’s long-standing corporate support of the Institut Pasteur, is a wonderful and shining example of what global citizens can achieve to promote public health.
Thank you Chris and your team at Sanofi – may I recognize here Elias Zerhouni, who is also with us this evening.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our event tonight could not come at a better time as French-American relations, and this is good news, have never been closer than they are today.
This was illustrated by President Hollande’s very successful visit to the United States four months ago, literally three days after his inauguration as the new President of France. And President Hollande will be in New York next week for the General Assembly of the United Nations.
So the context could not be more favorable to build – to build long-term economic and scientific partnerships between our two countries, based on our shared conviction that innovation is the number one, number two and number three priority.
In this respect, promoting French-American partnership in life sciences is one of my top priorities as Ambassador, and Sanofi and the Institut Pasteur, two of France’s greatest assets in this regard, are leading the way.
“Pasteur,” as we informally refer to the institute, is a key public health player in our country and worldwide, and it is a trailblazer of joint projects between France and the United States.
I am therefore thrilled to introduce our next speaker, the President of the Institut Pasteur, Dr. Alice Dautry, who has come especially from Paris to be with us tonight. Professor Dautry was trained as a physicist at the University of Paris and as a molecular biologist at the University of New York.
She has devoted her career in France and her stays in the United States, at the National Institutes of Health and the MIT, to research, training, and teaching, as well as to the evaluation and management of research. So she is a long-time friend of this country.
Alice Dautry has published some 130 articles in international scientific journals dealing with her studies in cell biology, receptors and infectious agents. Her teaching activities have included : Professor at Ecole Polytechnique, Director of the Molecular Biology of the Cell course at the Institut Pasteur, training of PhD students and post doctoral fellows.
She is a member of the French National Academy of Technologies and the Leopoldina Academy (Germany). She is also a member of a number of Boards of Trustees of higher education and research institutions, as well as prestigious international organizations.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the President of the Institut Pasteur, Dr. Alice Dautry.