Reflections on a warm summer day

20 July 2019

On French TV, there is a television show that is called Un jour, un destin. It’s a show that has been on the air since 2007 and has featured many of France’s most prominent leaders, artists, writers, as my French colleague pointed out the other day. The show, as the title suggests, goes back to their “former” lives, before wealth and celebrity knocked on their doors. They all have had different life paths, and some are more inspirational than others.

Life is full of surprises and coincidences some would say. Others say it’s hard work and determination. Paulo Coelho put it this way: "I can control my destiny, but not my fate." Destiny for him meant opportunities to turn right or left, while fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have choices as to how we fulfil our destiny, but our fate is sealed.

With the television show still in mind, my colleague remarked that, in our profession, we are lucky to meet many outstanding and very clever people who have done much for others, through diplomatic channels, as human right defenders, in politics, in the arts…

What they all have in common is the will to make changes, to improve our life in one way or another. There will always be persons who will come up with criticism, being negative or trying to do block one initiative or another. However, what is key is never to give in to them and their negativity, to never give up.

Recently in Osaka, the G20 heads of states agreed upon the importance of protecting our earth, as planetary warming is a reality and we will only be seeing more and more of extreme weather events, be they warm or cold. Each one of us can, at our modest level, do something – reducing our use of plastic, reducing our use of fossil-fueled transport by walking or bicycling etc., and together we can do miracles. So, over these moist and warm thoughts, let us finish by quoting the late Kofi Annan who said “More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.”