【Photo Diary】 (1) Visit to the United Kingdom [2023/05/18]
I would like to share with you some of the photographs taken during my visit to the United Kingdom between April 25 and 29, 2023, as chairman of The Nippon Foundation and WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination.
In London, I launched The Nippon Foundation-Nekton Ocean Census alongside Mr. Rupert Grey, chairman of Nekton, a U.K.-based marine research institute. This is the largest program in history to discover life in our oceans with the ambitious target of finding at least 100,000 new marine species in the first decade.
During the visit, I also engaged in activities as the leprosy elimination ambassador as part of my quest for a world free of leprosy, or Hansen’s disease.
[April 25, London]
With Ms. Claire Ireland, director of programs for “The Elders,” a group of independent global leaders that engages in peacemaking and human rights initiatives around the world. I presented her with a preserved rose for her daughter, who was turning 18 years old the following day.
I called on The Elders to join us in endorsing the 19th Global Appeal to End Stigma and Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy to be launched in January 2024.
Ms. Ireland promised to relay my request to the group’s members, including Chair Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, Deputy Chair Ban Ki-moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
I initiated the annual appeal in 2006, and it has been issued every year since on or near World Leprosy Day, which falls on the last Sunday of January. Its message is threefold: leprosy is curable, free treatment is available around the world, and discrimination against persons affected by leprosy has no place. Over the years, this message has been endorsed by, among others, political, business, academic and religious leaders around the world.
[April 26, London]
A breakfast meeting with Mr. Tim Hughes, deputy executive director of the International Bar Association (IBA).
We exchanged views on some countries where discriminatory laws still exist against persons affected by leprosy and agreed to explore further ways to get rid of such laws.
I also invited him to attend an international symposium to be held in Bergen, Norway, on June 21-22 to mark 150 years since the discovery of the leprosy bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae, by Dr. Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen (1841-1912). Mr. Hughes responded that with the election of IBA officers set for around that time, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to attend.
The symposium also comes under the "Don't Forget Leprosy" campaign that I initiated in 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that leprosy is not overlooked.
Making a tour of the Linnean Society of London, the world’s oldest learned society devoted to biology and natural history, and the birthplace of the theory of evolution. Founded in 1788, its collections include the priceless book, archive and biological specimen of the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus housed in environmentally-controlled conditions.
Being interviewed at the Linnean Society of London on The Nippon Foundation-Nekton Ocean Census on the eve of its launch with the ambitious target of finding at least 100,000 new marine species over the next decade.
With Ms. Lucy North who translated into English my book depicting my fight against leprosy and the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease. Titled in English Making the Impossible Possible: My Work for Leprosy Elimination and Human Rights, the book is about 850 pages long and contains some 700 photos. It covers some 20 years of my activities as a leprosy elimination ambassador, making some 200 overseas trips to a total of about 70 countries.
In particular, I thanked Ms. North for completing the translation in time for distribution to participants in the international symposium in Bergen on June 21-22 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Dr. Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen’s discovery of the leprosy bacillus.
With members of the board of trustees and staff of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, The Nippon Foundation’s partner organization. From left, Chief Executive Jenny White; the author; Professor Janet Hunter,
London School of Economics and Political Science; Professor David Cope,
Foundation Fellow, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge; Treasurer Jeremy Scott, non-executive director and chair, Audit Committee, Barclays International; and Programs Executive Rory Steele.
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation provides support to 13 prestigious universities in the United Kingdom to promote and maintain Japanese studies. It also explores how the two countries can work together more effectively to address a number of critical challenges that the world is facing.
(To be continued)