A look at our international news

A look at our international news


A look at our international news


Now that it’s “back to school” time, Le Projet Imagine is offering you a review of our latest international news…

Frédérique Bedos was a guest of honor at the 30th anniversary of the European Foundation Center in late May, and then went on to Brazil to meet Edenred employees for The IdealDay.

Happy Anniversary
to the European Foundation Center (EFC)!


61029613_2236854729697566_7093991237920751616_nFrom 22 to 24 May, the European Foundation Center (EFC), which includes 650 European foundations, associations and institutions, organized its annual congress in Paris in rather exceptional circumstances. The fact is that the organization came back to the French capital for the first time in 20 years for its 30th anniversary. Organized by the Fondation de France, which is also celebrating its anniversary this year, its 50th, this event was exceptionally prestigious: it brought together some 850 members in a symposium for a theme that was directly inspired by the motto of the home of human and citizens’ rights: “LIBERTY, EQUALITY, PHILANTHROPY”.

For three days, prominent figures such as Robert Badinter (former Minister of Justice and former President of the Constitutional Council), Plantu (press cartoonist and President of the association Cartooning for Peace), Lionel Zinsou (former Prime Minister of Benin), Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah (Director General of Oxfam, Great Britain) and Ghada Hatem (Ob-gyn and founder of the House of Women) took to the podium to discuss all the issues that European foundations are engaged in: freedom of expression, the migration crisis, new forms of solidarity and inclusion… Many workshops and plenary sessions gave delegates an opportunity to share, debate and reflect on new ideas and approaches to address the challenges of our time: inequality, climate change, the rise of populism…


Frédérique Bedos was given the privilege of delivering the closing speech for the event. In front of this audience of committed actors, she presented Le Projet Imagine, the Humble Heroes Project, recalling in particular the importance of journalism as a pillar of democracy. The audience, being particularly attuned to the topics that our NGO is committed to, namely otherness, social justice and world peace, was enthusiastic, giving her speech a prolonged standing ovation.

See you next year in Vienna, for the 31st edition!

Ideal Day in Brazil with Edenred


Every year, Edenred’s 8,500 employees in 46 countries dedicate a whole day to supporting local communities to help improve their quality of life: it’s called “Idealday”. Replanting trees, helping underprivileged youth or developing digital inclusion programs for the elderly… there’s no shortage of ways to help! Above all, the aim for employees is to engage in solidarity actions by contributing their skills to serve the community. An initiative that the Humble Heroes Project warmly supports.

25612df3-a0e9-4955-912a-3201a6e733b4As part of the three-year partnership we signed last April with the world’s leading payment solutions company in the world of work, Frédérique Bedos was invited this year on IdealDay to meet the Edenred teams in Brazil, which account for almost a quarter of the Group’s employees.

This stay in Sao Paulo was particularly intense: Idealday here lasts three full days! Not only did Frédérique speak to various audiences, but she also went along with different Edenred teams as they engaged in their charitable activities.

For instance, some had chosen to provide support to young people in need of social integration at the Instituto Familia Barichello, a karting track created by the famous Brazilian Formula 1 driver by the same name. Frédérique met William Boudakian De Oliveira, the Institute’s Executive Director, a wonderful person who has worked for more than 20 years with young people in serious difficulty (to the right, next to the image).


Several talks by Frédérique were organized both within the company – with the presence of Edenred Brazil’s Senior Management in their premises in Sao Paulo, and the employees of the Repom site in Alphaville – and outside of the company.


fffOur founder was invited to speak on gender and diversity issues at the University of Sao Judas, and met with keen interest with the members of the Instituto Ser (Be More), an NGO that helps young people (16/25 years) who are socially vulnerable to pursue specific studies and training in order to develop their potential and promote their professional integration.

Find out more (article in Portuguese)


On this occasion, she was able to experiment with a board game that was especially developed by the Edenred Brazil CSR* and Innovation Teams in order to raise awareness of gender equality. A great way to talk about sensitive issues in a relaxed environment.

*Corporate Social Responsibility


A video of this Brazilian trip:

miniature video idealday

Peace: a modern challenge!

Peace: a modern challenge!


Peace: a modern challenge!



From left to right: J-Y. Le Drian, S. Waslekar, H. Morin, M. El Baradei, F. Bedos et F-X. Priollaud


Peace is a suspended dream.”

Kofi Annan, 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1938 – 2018


unnamed-2-150x150On June 4th and 5th, ahead of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and the Battle of Normandy, the second edition of the “Normandy for Peace” World Forum took place in Caen. A total of 230 speakers – diplomats, intellectuals, researchers, activists from all over the world and NGO representatives – gathered there to exchange on the topic of “The Peacemakers”. A subject that is especially dear to the heart of Frédérique Bedos, member of the Forum’s Scientific and Strategic Committee.





”Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”

John Donne (1572-1631)


In continuance of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955 which, at the heart of the Cold War, challenged the world by asking the question: “Will we end the human race, or will humanity renounce war?”, the Forum’s Scientific Committee examined the relevance of drafting a new peace manifesto.

Never has the risk of extinction of all life on earth been so high. This finding is shared with various civil society figures committed to unnamed-232x300peace, such as the president of the Indian think tank, the Strategic Foresight Group (SFG), Sundeep Waslekar or the British philosopher, Anthony Grayling. With the help of the latter, the Committee was able to mobilize no less than four Nobel Peace Prizes: Jody Williams from the U.S.A. (1997 Nobel Peace Prize), who advocates for the prohibition of land-based anti-personnel mines, Mohamed El Baradei from Egypt (2005 Nobel Peace Prize), recognized for his efforts to promote nuclear non-proliferation around the world, Leymah Gbowee from Liberia (2011 Nobel Peace Prize), a Peace Activist in Africa, and Denis Mukwege (2018 Nobel Peace Prize 2018), Congolese surgeon and gynecologist who was awarded for his fight against sexual violence as a weapon of war.

All six put together their thoughts and their pens to draft the precious document on the day before the start of the Forum.

Emotions were running high when this call for a global awareness of the need for lasting peace on a global scale was presented to the public: the NORMANDY MANIFESTO FOR PEACE! Calling for the elimination of weapons of mass destruction and increased commitments to Sustainable Development, this manifesto lays the groundwork for a new global contract. It is up to us, citizens of the world, to sign it in order to encourage leaders to change course. Because, as Frédérique Bedos tirelessly says: “It is up to us to commit ourselves and act to build a better world. Because the world is Us! »



From left to right: D. Mukwege, J. Williams, S. Waslekar, L. Gbowee, A. Grayling, F. Bedos, F-X. Priollaud

We invite you to discover and sign this manifesto. It’s up to you!

Read the manifesto

I’m signing the manifesto



This year, Frédérique Bedos had the honor of co-hosting, together with Francois-Xavier Priollaud, Vice-President of the Normandy Region, the three plenary sessions of the Forum, namely:

  • “Humanizing peace: which actors?”
  • “The Paths of Peace: Mistakes and Success”
  • “Building a sustainable peace”



For two days, leading international experts were able to exchange in front of a large audience (6000 people came to the Abbey aux Dames location during the 2 days of the Forum). The discussions were passionate and candid, enabling us to address the questions that really matter: “Where is the essence of humanity when 8 to 9 people own half of the world’s wealth?” “How effective is the United Nations today?” “How can women and young people, more than half the population, still be kept away from the negotiating tables”… And we can see how huge the gap is between “winning the war” and “building peace”! Over and above the triumph of strength, the key factors for pacifying the planet still are development, mediation and prevention. But without a drastic reduction in inequality, the dialogue will remain a dead letter. It is therefore high time for human communities to move from confrontation to cooperation.


Find out more about the plenary debates





In the 21st century, in the age of the Internet and global immediacy, false information can destabilize international relations, sometimes intentionally. Because there is an urgent need to reflect on the role of the media, the Forum specifically addressed the problem of “fake news” through a dialogue between Marie-Christine Zaragoza, CEO of the audiovisual Group France Media Monde and Frédérique Bedos on the topic of: “News and destabilization, what can the media do”.


In response to questions from our founder, Mrs. Zaragoza especially highlighted the key aspect, namely the independence of the media, and the importance of educating young people about images. These are considerations that are at the heart of the analysis within our independent information NGO, since it is only funded by donations and is particularly involved with young people, especially through its ‘Imagine Schools’ programmed. But above all, we are fully aware of the challenge of providing fair and honest information, the pillar of the democratic model, because a well-informed citizen is an enlightened citizen.




During the Forum, three films signed “Les Productions Imagine” were presented exclusively to the public. This series, entitled “A Testimony for Peace”, highlights the importance of memory, resilience and ultimately reconciliation, and they were warmly applauded.

We invite you to discover these moving stories:

A Testimony for Peace: André Landesman

A Testimony for Peace: Alaa Hossam Edine

A Testimony for Peace: Yara Al Asbani



A University Chair for Peace


While there are prestigious “War Schools” in many countries, there really is no such thing as “Peace Schools”. Consequently, the Forum ended with the announcement that a “Normandy for Peace in the World” university chair would be established in collaboration with the French national Research Administration – CNRS, and the University of Caen, in order to contribute to academic research and training for top-level researchers in the field of peace studies.

Scheduled for 2019/2020, the chair will welcome internationally recognized academics in law, political and social science, history and economics. In a privileged setting, they will be able to carry out their work in the fields of peace, security and conflict resolution, while at the same time participating in training PhD students.

The current holder of the “Normandy for Peace in the World” Chair is from the Philippines. Antonio A. Oposa Jr., is the first lawyer in the world to have won a lawsuit on behalf of future generations, namely the class action before the Philippine Supreme Court of 43 children against deforestation. Master Oposa sent a moving message to the public in two stages: 1/ “We can enjoy peace on earth because we will be at peace with the earth” and 2/ “We must no longer emphasize the bad news, but rather the good news.”


A plan which Project Imagine fully supports since its inception in 2010!

Le Projet Imagine makes a splash in Asia!

Le Projet Imagine makes a splash in Asia!


Le Projet Imagine makes a splash in Asia!


From March 17th to March 23rd, Frédérique Bedos visited Hong Kong and Singapore as part of the Semaine de la Francophonie, a week-long celebration of the French-speaking space.

A great opportunity to highlight Le Projet Imagine at the other end of the world!

3 intense days in Hong Kong

Landing in Hong Kong and with not a minute wasted, Frédérique Bedos was honored to be a guest speaker at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC), a prestigious club for top international journalists (NY Times, Reuters , BBC, South China Morning Post, Le Monde, etc.). In her talk on “Why is it an emergency to do Journalism of Hope?” Frédérique emphasized the editorial line that is special to the Imagine Project, which is informing with hope in a world that is polluted by fake news, conspiracy thinking and an atmosphere of widespread distrust of whatever comes from officialdom or institutions. Her talk was notice, and was followed by many questions that enabled Frédérique to even address the issue of media impact on radicalization and the fight against terrorism.

Video – see full presentation




Following this tup-level conference, Hong Kong’s flagship newspaper, the South China Morning Post (SCMP), decided to dedicate a front-page teaser and a full page to Le Projet Imagine – an extraordinary recognition on the part of such a highly respected daily paper.

We warmly thank journalist Kate Whitehead (see picture) for her interest and for this beautiful article (read online version below).





Frédérique Bedos also used the opportunity of this brief stay in Hong Kong to give other talks, including on women’s rights during a screening, followed by a debate, of her film “WOMEN AND MEN” at the Alliance Française of Hong Kong. As always, she liaised with organizations representing France abroad, such as the French Embassy.

3 days of madness in Singapore

Her marathon continued with 4 lectures in 3 days, including a masterclass at INSEAD and a film-debate at the French Lycée of Singapour. The students and their teachers were able to discover the film “WOMEN AND MEN“, as well as our Imagine School program. There were so many requests, that she was unfortunately unable to follow up on all of them … Definitely something to be organized the next time Frédérique comes back to this part of the world!

We are amazed by the interest in Le Projet Imagine on the other side of the world, both among personalities in the Francophone community, in NGOs, institutions and a broad swath of the general public.

This is without a doubt the beginnings of a beautiful base in Asia!

Sur le même thème

Review of our Jean Vanier film presentation at the United Nations

Review of our Jean Vanier film presentation at the United Nations


Review of our Jean Vanier film presentation
at the United Nations



A great success for the international premiere of the documentary “Jean Vanier, the Sacrament of Tenderness” held on October 18th at the UN in New York: There was a crowd that evening before the gates of the venerable institution, and the prestigious ECOSOC room where the screening was organized, the largest room of the United Nations with 600 seats, was full. A standing ovation saluted the film and the immense work that it highlights. The achievement of a great humanist, now 90 years old, who founded l’Arche and dedicated his life to the most vulnerable among us, namely people with mental handicaps.


For this occasion, our NGO decided to organize a major evening event dedicated to mental health in general. To raise awareness as broadly as possible in the general public, we called upon many partners: France, Canada, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Organization of La Francophonie, as well as Belgium, Bahrain and the city of New York all played an active part in the event.

According to studies conducted in 2015 by WHO or the World Bank, some 15% to 20% of the world’s population is affected by mental disorders. We may not be impacted directly, but we inevitably have someone in our close environment (family, friends, co-workers…) who is affected. That is why it is high time to take a fresh look at this phenomenon and to get rid of the taboos which surround it. And who could be better to initiate the discussion on that issue than Jean Vanier, who has been working in this field for more than half a century?

The opening remarks were made by Mr. François Delatte, Ambassador of France to the UN Security Council and Mr. Richard Arbeiter, permanent member of Parliament for Canada and Chair of the Group “Friends of Mental Health”. The focus was on the need, not only to provide support to people with mental and/or psychological problems, but to learn from them. That is the very core of the message that l’Arche conveys all around the world.


Upstream of the film screening, a round table was moderated by Dr. Judy Kuriansky, a Clinical Psychologist with the Faculty of Columbia and expert in mental health services. The round table included Frédérique Bedos, Ms. Nata Menabde, Executive Director of WHO and Ms. Meagan Van Harte, Senior Director of the Office of Community Resilience in the Department of Mental Health in New York city. The aim was to look at current solutions in terms of research, prevention, education and awareness.

The task before us is huge, but our commitment can change everything and can effect a positive change in the lives of people who are ill or handicapped, and more broadly, in all our lives!


Sur le même thème

Our Film About Jean Vanier: A Phenomenon

Our Film About Jean Vanier: A Phenomenon


Our film about Jean Vanier:
a phenomenon!



In movie theaters for the 13th consecutive week, “Jean Vanier, the Sacrament of Tenderness”, has just topped 40 000 admissions and is currently second in Allociné’s list of the best films playing in theaters, according to the audience, just behind the multiple-Oscar-winning “Bohemian Rhapsody” and ahead of the fantastic “Green Book”. What a joy to see that the fabulous story of Jean Vanier, this Mother Teresa of our time, is touching our hearts and gaining an increasingly broad audience!

The film is still playing in theaters in France, Switzerland and Belgium.



Directed by Frédérique Bedos, this documentary pays homage to Jean Vanier, founder of l’Arche. This fervent humanist was once on the verge of a brilliant military career, when he chose instead to give his life over to serving the most vulnerable of us all: people suffering from mental impairment. Jean Vanier decided to live with them in a small house in the village of Trosly Breuil in the Oise. This was the beginning of the adventure. Learn more.

See the trailer.


Sur le même thème

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