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Black Tie International:
Jean Vanier, screening and Mental Health Panel, UN, NYC


Jean Vanier
Screening and Mental Health Panel
at the United Nations

Photos By:  Rose Billings/Blacktiemagazine.com

Caring and sensitivity pervaded the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber at the United Nations on the evening of October 18th, when a documentary was screened about a heroic man who devoted his life to living and loving persons with mental challenges.

 The film, panel and addresses from UN ambassadors, high-level officials from UN agencies and New York City, and the film’s director - energetically moderated by noted psychologist
Dr. Judy Kuriansky --  raised awareness about mental health and highlighted recent major advances bringing the topic to the forefront of the global agenda.

 Attendees in the full-to-capacity chamber expressed how inspiring, powerful and
emotionally moving the evening was.

Hayfa Matar; Ambassador Richard Arbeiter of Canada and Ambassador Jeroen Cooreman of Belgium, with Dr. Judy Kuriansky, moderator of the evening and advisor of the Group of Friends (in pink); H.E. François Delattre, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Mission of France to the United Nations; Executive Director, United Nations New York Office, World Health Organization (WHO) Dr.Nata Menabde

Co-sponsors of the evening were representatives of the Missions of France, Belgium, Canada and Bahrain to the United Nations, the International Association of Applied Psychology and the World Health Organization
(left to right):
 The 3 Deputy Permanent Ambassadors of the United Nations Missions co-Presidents of the Group of Friends of Mental Health and Well-being, from the Missions the Kingdom of Bahrain, Hayfa Matar; Ambassador Richard Arbeiter of Canada and Ambassador Jeroen Cooreman of Belgium, with Dr. Judy Kuriansky, moderator of the evening and advisor of the Group of Friends (in pink); H.E. François Delattre, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Mission of France to the United Nations; Executive Director, United Nations New York Office, World Health Organization (WHO) Dr.Nata Menabde.

Other sponsors: the City of New York, the Francophonie and the Union for Mental Health (headquartered in Moscow)

Jean Vanier, the Sacrament of Tenderness

The invite for the screening of the documentary, “Jean Vanier, the Sacrament of Tenderness” that depicts the story of Jean Vanier, a Canadian humanist who founded The Arche in 1964, an international federation active in 35 countries dedicated to support people
with mental disabilities.  

Hayfa Matar of the Mission of the Kingdom of Bahrain, H.E. Ambassador Richard Arbeiter of the Mission of Canada, and H.E. Ambassador Jeroen Cooreman of the Mission of Belgium to the UN.   

The three co-Presidents of the Group of Friends of Mental Health and Well-being at the United Nations, a like-minded group of governments represented at the UN who support mental health and well-being in projects and initiatives: Hayfa Matar of the Mission of the Kingdom of Bahrain, H.E. Ambassador Richard Arbeiter of the Mission of Canada, and H.E. Ambassador Jeroen Cooreman of the Mission of Belgium to the UN.   

Representatives of the co-sponsors of the evening, the Psychology Coalition of NGOs Accredited at the United Nations (PCUN) (left to right): Dr. Rashmi Jaipal, representative of the American Psychological Association; Dr. Walter Reichman of the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) and current PCUN President; Dr. David Livert, of the Society for the Scientific Study of Social Issues; and Dr Judy Kuriansky, of the International Association of Applied Psychology and the World Council for Psychotherapy

Representatives of the co-sponsors of the evening, the Psychology Coalition of NGOs Accredited at the United Nations (PCUN) (left to right): Dr. Rashmi Jaipal, representative of the American Psychological Association; Dr. Walter Reichman of the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) and current PCUN President; Dr. David Livert, of the Society for the Scientific Study of Social Issues; and Dr Judy Kuriansky, of the International Association of Applied Psychology and the World Council for Psychotherapy

, Dr. Judy Kuriansky
Moderator of the evening, Dr. Judy Kuriansky sets the stage noting how mental health issues affect one in four persons at some point in their life, and highlighting exciting advances heightening the profile of mental health and well-being internationally, including the UN Secretary General’s new strategy for mental health and well-being of the workplace and UN staff; the recent Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in London, and the mental health meetings at WHO in Geneva.
H.E. Ambassador Delattre of the UN Mission of France

H.E. Ambassador Delattre of the UN Mission of France -- an expert on peace, security and antiterrorism who represents France as one of the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council, discussing issues like the Syrian crisis and migration -- spoke about support for mental health and acknowledged the power of the film and its touching message about persons with disabilities.

H.E. Ambassador Richard Arbeiter of Canada

H.E. Ambassador Richard Arbeiter of Canada – previously posted in Afghanistan and Chile - spoke openly about the critical importance of mental health given its universal impact, the courage of those who share their lived experiences, and noted his country’s commitment, coming from the top of government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

 Frédérique Bedos, director of the film “Jean Vanier,

Journalist Frédérique Bedos, director of the film “Jean Vanier, The Sacrament of Tenderness,” founded the French NGO Le Projet Imagine accredited by ECOSOC at the UN that initiates projects celebrating heroic ordinary people and uses media to promote peace, hope and action by individuals, schools and communities. She spoke about being inspired to tell Vanier’s story because she lived part-time with parents who adopted 20 children with special needs who taught her about love and acceptance. She also introduced a video message from Jean Vanier, speaking about the need for love in this world to overcome the drive for power, and how feeling childlike and letting oneself be a little “crazy” can be healing. Vanier was awarded accept the Templeton Prize (about $1.7 million) also given to mother Teresa, Reverend Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, for contributions to harmony and spirituality in the world.

Dr. Nata Menabde,

Executive Director of the New York office of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Nata Menabde, talked about important advances in mental health including the Quality Rights campaign, the UN resolutions about Universal Health Coverage and the historical inclusion of mental health as a non-communicable disease (e.g., with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease) at the recent high-level conference about non-communicable diseases (NCDs) at the UN. 

Meagan Van Harte

Dr Judy Kuriansky moderating the panel of WHO’s Dr. Nata Menabde, documentary producer Frédérique Bedos, and Meagan Van Harte, Senior Director at New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Meagan Van Harte

Her team surrounds Meagan Van Harte, Senior Director, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (middle row in white shirt), who oversees 55 initiatives by the city to approach mental health as a comprehensive public health issue, to change the conversation and stigma surrounding mental illness, and to provide greater access to mental health care, including ThriveNYC, and the free Mental Health First Aid education training
 for all New Yorkers

Sophie Evekink,Mylaèle Negga

Sophie Evekink External Relations and Technical Officer in charge of Human rights, Family, Women's and Children's health at the WHO UN office
 with
Mylaèle Negga, Press and Communication Officer - Social Media and Events,
Permanent Mission of France to the UN

Werner Obermeyer, Deputy to the Executive Director, World Health Organization at the UN and Hayet Zeggar, Counsellor, Social Development, Mission of France to the UN

Werner Obermeyer, Deputy to the Executive Director, World Health Organization at the UN and Hayet Zeggar, Counsellor, Social Development, Mission of France to the UN

Dr. Judy Kuriansky and Dr. Nata Menabde

Dr. Judy Kuriansky and Dr. Nata Menabde

Dalal Almajed, Brian Smith and i Layla Mohamed Sultan Mohamed Alneyadi

Students at Columbia University Teachers College in Dr. Judy Kuriansky’s class on “Psychology and the United Nations” (left to right): Dalal Almajed, Brian Smith and i Layla Mohamed Sultan Mohamed Alneyadi

 
 
 

 

Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks. Photo by:  Susumu Sato

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