Cambodian King Installed in France’s Academy of Inscriptions
Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni was officially accepted in the French Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-lettres this past Friday during a ceremony under the dome of the Institut de France. The King was installed as a foreign associate because of Cambodia’s link to France as well as its rich culture and history.
During the ceremony, academics such as Jean Leclant, the permanent secretary of the Academy, Franciscus Verellen, the director of the French School of Far East since 2004, and Azzedine Beschaouch, another foreign associate, gave speeches on the Khmer culture’s influence on France and the need to preserve that culture.
At the end, King Sihamoni delivered his speech in reply to what the men before him said.
“The veneration of the temples and the scrupulous respect of the high places of spirituality are an ancient tradition of our family. Upon entering, today in the temple of knowledge and consciousness, we reserve the first words to express our gratitude,” he said.
“We owe in large part to the prestige of our father. Taking the double challenge of truth and freedom, His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk has to be, in effect, the man of Bandung in 1955, and the host, in Phnom Penh, General de Gaulle in 1966. Along with our father who made history, we’ve learned to never give in to despair. Thus, when times were marked with iron tyranny, we know, definitively, that the dignity of the human condition lies in the refusal of servitude and rejecting paths of dishonor.”
With that, the King received a standing ovation.
The Academy of Inscriptions was founded in 1663 to serve the study of humanities. It is one the five academies of the Institut de France.
To learn more about the Academy, here’s a link: http://www.aibl.fr/us/sommaire/som.html
Princess Haya Given Der Steiger Award
Princess Haya, the wife of the Sheikh Dubai, was one of the recipients of the German Der Steiger Award on Saturday. She was acknowledged the sports portion because of her commitment to the activity.
As a former Olympic athlete, the Princess is known for her position as the president of the International Equestrian Federation and as an International Olympic Committee member. She is also the president of the Dubai Organizing Committee for the SportAccord Convention 2010. Haya’s experience as an athlete has influenced her role as a philanthropist.
“The virtues of the Der Steiger are the same values that we cherish in sports. The only thing that matters in sports is your performance. And a winning performance isn’t measured just by medal counts. It is measured by behavior,” Princess Haya said upon receiving the award. “The equality of competition can be particularly empowering for women and young girls. For far too many of them, sport is the one opportunity they have to break free from societal norms that stifle their creativity, their passion and their dreams.”
The Der Steiger Award is given out annually. A private initiative, is awarded to personalities for respectfulness, openness, humanity and tolerance. The categories for the Der Steiger are sports, music, media, film and the environment.
Queen Rania Urges Education for Girls
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The Queen of Jordan was one the guests in this weekend’s “Women and the World” summit in New York City, which was hosted by The Daily Beast‘s Tina Brown. On Saturday, Queen Rania was interviewed by CBS anchor Katie Couric about the importance of educating girls.
“I really do think this is a do-or-die year, and I don’t mean that metaphorically; education really can mean life or death,” Her Majesty told Couric.
“Educating a girl is probably the highest returning investment that a country can make.”
According to Rania, that means preventing a girl from a lifetime of poverty and disease.
The Queen was one of several high profiled women at this summit. The other guests were U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, TV journalist Barbara Walters and designer Diane von Furstenberg.
Topics discussed were genital cutting, sex trafficking, and how far women have come and what is still left to do.