100 years after Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s arrival in Gabon in 1913, the legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize winner is more alive than ever in Gabon, his land of adoption
Opening today, the Albert Schweitzer Centennial Celebration (http://schweitzerlambarene100.com) reflects on the multiple passions and engagements of one of the 20th century leading humanitarian figure. Albert Schweitzer was a physician who was committed to ensure that healthcare is accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable populations. He was also a theologian and a philosopher, not to forget also a talented musician.
This celebration has been thought to commemorate these three dimensions, humanist, cultural and scientific, to achieve a concrete roadmap to fight against infectious diseases in Africa.
“Above all else, Albert Schweitzer believed in the value of life and the responsibility to care for it. For a century, his hospital and Gabon have been home to his legacy of dedication to health and quality of life for all people. We are so proud of this honor, and we hold dearly our continued responsibility to it,” declares the President of the Gabonese Republic, Ali Bongo Ondimba.
The humanitarian legacy
350 personalities came from all over the world to meet in Lambaréné and celebrate the legacy of the Nobel Prize Albert Schweitzer’s Reverence for life philosophy. It is this core commitment towards the respect for life and the combination of Schweitzer’s many talents (theologian, musician, philosopher, peace activism) that inspired the holistic approach of the scientific symposium and centennial ceremony.
Indeed, the overall ambition is to bridge scientific research, humanism and pragmatic, sustainable actions on the ground.
Thus, this high-level meeting will enable the elaboration of a concrete action plan to overcome the challenges of fighting some of the most threatening infectious diseases (HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and malaria) in Africa.
Among the speakers…
- Peter Agre, Director, Nobel Prize winner in Chemsitry and Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute
- Roy Anderson, Director, London Centre for Neglected Tropical Diseases
- Till Bärnighausen, Senior Epidemiologist, Harvard School of Public Health
- Yamina Benguigui, Deputy foreign Minister in charge of Francophonie, personnal representative of the French President
- Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO
- Alain Deloche, Founder, La Chaîne de l’Espoir and Co-Founder, Médecins du Monde
- Philippe Douste-Blazy, Chair, UNITAID & Special Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations on Innovative Finance for Development
- Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Founder, Women Peace and Security Network
- Luc Montagnier, founder of the Fondation Mondiale Recherche et Prévention SIDA
- Sylla Thiam, Lead Malaria Programme, AMREF, Senegal
- Dean Schraufnagel, Vice-President of International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
- Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS
A ‘cross-fertilization’ platform for collective action
The symposium been structured around plenary sessions, panel discussions and interactive presentations. In addition, thematic taskforces will be working on maternal and neonatal health care, cross-disciplinary changes and innovations, e-health and electronic medical records, training of healthcare professionals, leadership and governance and African medical research.
Celebration of a life long commitment to science and medicine for all
In line with Albert Schweitzer’s legacy, namely the still operating Albert Schweitzer’s hospital which serves as an efficient regional health center (research, health care, prevention, child birth and maternity service,…) a new “Centre international universitaire de recherche et de santé Albert Schweitzer” will be inaugurated in Lambaréné to tackle 21st Century health challenges.
It will serve as a state of the art hospital and medical research centre providing technical, human and financial resources for research on malaria, tuberculosis resurgence but also cardio-vascular diseases as well as expert training for young Gabonese and Africans.
In addition, and in the presence of Albert Schweitzer’s descendants, Alain Deloche, Christiane Engel and Louis Schweitzer, the Royal Symphony Orchestra of London will be giving a concert in memory of the doctor’s passion for music, an invitation to reflect on his philosophical approach before delegates and speakers start their working sessions.
The Albert Schweitzer Hospital centennial is an international event, held under the high patronage of His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, produced by Richard Attias and Associates.