Friends of yesterday, today and tomorrow
To you and all your loved ones I wish a happy new year !
May each day that will be offered to us in 2022,
carry us in a movement of Love, Joy, Peace and Hope
This movement of the mind, the heart and the soul
that gives meaning to hope and beauty to Life!
This “movement” which is the essence of Life, which is the condition of Life, which connects us to each other in this infinite breathing of the Creation of which we are part!
Over the years, I have gradually become aware that this Creation is a connection of atoms, cells, particles, inanimate and animate beings, that one cannot consider a part without also considering the whole… a wisdom which, one day or another, the zeitgeist or political correctness will lead us to.
I would like to pay tribute to the exceptional documentaries of the naturalist Sir David Attenborough who has dedicated his life for more than half a century to defend the cause of the environment and biodiversity.
This series of films with striking images and powerful scripts, which I recently had the pleasure of watching on Netflix, is a spiritual testament, a summary of a man’s life, “Beautiful Mind”, a life offered and dedicated to the Living.
I took there the full measure of the interconnection between all the living organisms that populate our planet, and the human being being, in reality, only one living species among millions of others, no more, no less.
Such thought inspiring great respect and great humility …
The very essence of all human life, the condition of all survival, is linked to this innate capacity for collaboration and complementarity between organisms and between species, as long as they are aware of their interdependence.
In recent years, I have become more and more attached to promoting human encounters, identifying convergences and initiating synergies between beings and projects dedicated to the common good.
By connecting them and bringing them together whenever possible, my challenge has been to encourage them to find the greatest common denominator between them, aligned on shared values, – each one preserving its own unique character and DNA -, in order to pursue their mission and ensure the sustainability of their action over the medium and long term.
This is why new “scores” are being written or have already been composed, in the humanitarian field, between NGOs working in the same geographical areas with complementary approaches, between these NGOs and those dedicated to the defense of human rights, between these NGOs and those working for the protection of the environment – how can one be envisaged without the other -, between institutions dedicated to music, dance, painting, plastic arts, cinema – new collaborations between them are emerging, which would have been unimaginable a short time ago -.
These bridges which are being launched are such joyful and encouraging initiatives, the tangible proof that beyond the tide of gloom propagated daily by the media, luminous projects for our Humanity are being woven and consolidated.
These particular times of pandemic have had a positive effect in that they have forced us to initiate new ways of connecting and communicating with each other, and have stimulated our creativity to imagine new ways of doing things.
My lifelong friend Bertrand Piccard asked me a few years ago why my commitment as a philanthropist had not led me to create my own Foundation, when I had just made a substantial contribution to both his Winds of Hope Foundation and his Solar Impulse project.
This question deeply challenged me, insofar as my commitment to noble causes in fields as diverse as humanitarianism, disability, medical research, animals, the environment and culture, had always outweighed my ego, insofar as I had never felt the need to give a formal and legal framework to my numerous commitments in order to amplify their impact and scope.
I am now aware that having created my own Foundation would have greatly limited the horizons I have been able to embrace over the years, as they touch on all the areas that have a place in my heart and that are part of what I like to call the Greater Good.
In other words, like a topographic map, I could compare my commitment to the tiny streams that shape and irrigate our landscapes, ending modestly in lakes and seas, as well as to the streams that transform themselves over time into powerful and nourishing rivers that will also one day flow into an infinitely larger body of water.
This is my journey … this journey of a life, made of beautiful human encounters around shared values, has allowed me to trace the Path that has been mine for over 30 years.
This Path that I call my “coherence”.
This is how, over time, I have answered the call of people who have crossed my path and have moved me, the call of small NGOs, the call of unknown causes that I have often not mentioned on my website or in my newsletters and posts on LinkedIn.
Thus, over time, I have also chosen to mobilize myself in favor of causes and large-scale projects, led by organizations and individuals who are dedicated to making our world a simply human, livable, breathable place!
NGOs with remarkable track records and impact… I will mention here only a few of those for which I have mobilized my energy and with which I will continue to work: UNHCR – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees -, MEDAIR, HELVETAS – thanks to the appeal of my friend Romaine Jean -, the Karuna-Shechen Association of Matthieu Ricard, the Sentinelle Foundation founded by Edmond Kaiser and the OneAction Association of my young friend Jan Isler.
Although, given the informal nature of my involvement with them, they are not mentioned on my pages, these NGOs deserve all the encouragement and support they can get for their luminous contribution to alleviating the countless distresses they face on a daily basis in the course of their mission.
Thus, over the years, my life commitment has taken root mainly within the Boards of multiple Foundations and Associations. These are listed on my website; I tell on the Foundations – Boards page the common thread that guided me from one to the other, year after year.
After having resigned from the Board of some of them, mostly due to lack of time, I have chosen to remain close to their “WHY” as Goodwill Ambassador.
Today, as part of my New Year’s greetings, I would like to focus on the Projects Page of my website!
I have chosen to present in more detail some of my commitments, some of those projects for which I am smitten, some of my passions, and I invite you to discover all the joy that there is in reaching out.
The notion of programmed obsolescence – which affects so many indispensable objects of our daily life, and which is profoundly contrary to me – has brought about a positive consequence that it forced me to update my website.
Indeed, it had to be reorganized to ensure a version compatible with all reading media such as computers, tablets and smartphones.
This was an excellent opportunity to rethink and update the presentation of the Projects, News and Media pages!
The need to be able to address an English-speaking audience also motivated me to offer both the site and my newsletters in English (as far as the latter is concerned, there are still a few translations missing on the Projects and News pages of the site… work in progress! ).
I leave you with the gift of the recent TED Talk on altruism by Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk who is close to the Dalai Lama, sage, scientist, writer, speaker and photographer.
For Matthieu, altruism allows for a new resilient approach in our decision-making, both in daily life and at work, in the short and long term.
This quest for balance and happiness becomes possible only to the extent that it can be rooted in a “caring economy”!
I had the pleasure of meeting Matthieu a few years ago following the earthquakes that devastated Nepal and reduced to ruins many of the schools and hospitals built over the years by his Karuna-Shechen Association in the Himalayan region.
Thanks to the help of truly altruistic friends, we were able to organize a support event at short notice which allowed him to rebuild several devastated schools.
That same year, Matthieu also gave me the immense joy of becoming an active supporter of my BanObOun dog shelter in Thailand!
Today, with the populations of India and Nepal, Karuna-Shechen works every day to inspire and implement altruism through programs with strong social and environmental impacts.
This association co-constructs innovative solutions to adapt to climate change and to allow for better resource management.
So many collective initiatives are possible to rebuild ecosystems!
In gratitude for the hope and the Faith that inhabit us,
In gratitude for this precious connection between us woven over time.
Hope is the promise
Made by the imagination to the mind
Faith is the promise
Made by Life to the soul and to the heart