I was in Paris the other week and, though cold and wet and windy, our welcome was the warmest it could have been!
Why were we there? For the Paris Peace Forum, the annual event where folks from governments, business and other organizations come together to discuss and try and come up with ways to make the world better. And one of the hottest topics there, of course, was cybersecurity – and that’s why were extended a very enthusiastic invite. And since we support all kinds of initiatives throughout the world advocating international cooperation so as to create a digital world that’s secure against all cyber-badness, we sent our RSVP back practically tout de suite.
And it was a great forum! Why?
First: the participants. Several dozen heads of state, ministers and multinational company bosses. I even got to shake hands with Monsieur Macron! Plus I had/did around a dozen meetings/interviews/presentations/press-conferences. Yes it was intense, but oh-so worth it, and oh-so enjoyable.
Second: the venue – La Grande Halle de La Villette – was just awesome. The cultural center started life out… as a slaughterhouse!
And despite such a… utilitarian past, today it’s a most impressive, beautiful and large construction. Btw – it’s quite old too, built some 150 years ago.
Here’s the forum itself. It’s here the main speeches and discussions take place. I gave a presentation too.
Also – mini-exhibition with various good and wholesome and proper themes…
For example, there was a stand of the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment, whose representatives answered a question of mine most satisfactorily: ‘How many trees will be planted in China?’ Answer: ‘There’s a special program for just this purpose – and it plans to plant some 500 million trees’ (!). I can believe it too: during our recent Tibetan trip I was amazed by the scale of the tree planting going on everywhere…
We had a stand here too:
And that’s all for today folks from Paris. Time for me to get back on the road…
P.S.: Quick update to my list of heads-of-state I’ve personally met. Well, why not? ->
1. Azerbaijan: Ilham Aliyev;
4. Vatican: Pope Francis;
5. Gabon: Ali Bongo Ondimba;
6. Germany: Angela Merkel;
7. Cuba: Miguel Díaz-Canel;
8. Lithuania: Valdas Adamkus;
9. Monaco: Albert II;
12. Rwanda: Paul Kagame;
13. Seychelles: Danny Faure;
14. Singapore: Lee Kuan Yew; and
15. France: Emmanuel Macron.
And I’ve pics to show for (most of) it! ->