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Raymond SACKLER Officier of the Legion of Honor

Raymond SACKLER Officier of the Legion of Honor

Published on November 20, 2013
Speech by Ambassador François Delattre

New-York, November 18, 2013

Dear Dr. Sackler,
Dear Mrs. Sackler
Distinguished guests,
American and French friends,

It is a great pleasure and honor for me to be here with you today on this very special occasion and I would like to express my warmest thanks to Raymond Sackler, whom we are honoring today, for welcoming us to this beautiful location. 

We are gathered here this afternoon to honor one of the most remarkable medical doctors in the field of Psychiatry and a very successful businessmanwho is also a great friend of France and an exceptional individual, Raymond Sackler.

I would like to thank Mr. Sackler’s family and friends who have joined us here this afternoon to show their support and admiration, with a special word of appreciation to his wife Beverly, to whom I also want to pay tribute.

Before proceeding with the ceremony, I would like to say a few words about the award I will bestow upon Mr. Sackler. The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to reward extraordinary accomplishments and outstanding services rendered to France.
It is France’s highest distinction and one of the most coveted in the world. And the rank of officier that I will bestow upon Raymond Sackler is truly exceptional.

Dear Dr. Sackler,

You have accomplished so much that it is difficult to briefly sum up all of your outstanding achievements.

Already at a very young age, you were interested in France and French culture. You first visited France in 1939, and since then, have come to France very often, becoming a true Francophile, as evidenced throughout your professional life and philanthropic activities.

Together with your brother Mortimer, also a medical doctor, you created a pharmaceutical laboratory in France that was and still is a great success story. Being aware of the caliber of French research in medical and pharmaceutical sciences, you chose France for their first industrial investment, co-funding Les Laboratoires SARGET (today MEDA-PHARMA). You developed this company by creating or acquiring several subsidiaries in France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal.

You were incredibly successful, bringing the “Laboratoires SARGET” from a staff of a few hundred people in 1961, when it was created, to more than two thousand in 1987, when it was sold. With your brother and family, you later created another pharmaceutical company, MUNDIPHARMA, which is still growing, creating many jobs in France, and thus significantly contributing to the rise of the pharmaceutical industry in our country.

At the same time, you and your wife, Beverly, became patrons of a number of worthy causes: many scientific institutions, universities, and museums such as the Louvre and the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux have benefited from your generosity. You also expressed a special interest in IHES, the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, that is very well represented this afternoon.

I’d like to recognize the new Chairman of the Friends of IHES, Prof. Michael Douglas, the new Director of IHES Emmanuel Ullmo and its former director Jean-Pierre Bourguignon.

If IHES is what it is today, a worldclass scientific center that is second to none, it is to a large extend thanks to you mon cher Jean-Pierre, to your talent, dedication and commitment to the Institute.

It is also thanks to the support of many of you, Luc Hardy, and Raymond and Beverly Sackler in particular.

Cher Raymond,

Since 1990, you have made 3 donations to IHES, leading to the creation of 2 permanent endowments to host 2 scientists every year. You also supported the agreement between IHES and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Mathematical Sciences at Tel Aviv University. You encouraged IHES to diversify its scientific activities by making an additional donation in 2012 to create a Chair in Physics and Cosmology.

Your long friendship and tremendous generosity toward French arts and science mirror your exceptional qualities as human beings. Your professional and social success go hand in hand with a unwavering intellectual curiosity and a strong commitment to future generations.

You were originally named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by President Mitterrand. Your name had been proposed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Benoît d’Abboville, then French Consul in New York, who presented you with the award here in New York in 1990.

Today, in recognition of your continued dedication and commitment to French-American cultural and scientific cooperation, the President of the French Republic has promoted you to the rank of Officier dans l’Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur.

It is my great pleasure and privilege to award you this distinction. I will now proceed in French:

Raymond SACKLER,

Au nom du Président de la République, je vous fais Officier dans l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur.

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