5 December 2011
"Glass Microbe Sculpture Exhibition"
Remarks by Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
United Nations Under-Secretary-General
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
Opening of the Glass Microbe Sculpture Exhibition
Monday 5 December at 13h15
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be able to welcome you to this exhibition of glass microbe sculptures by Mr. Luke Jerram, hosted by the governments of Switzerland and the United Kingdom. I am very pleased that the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention is catering to both the minds and the hearts of its delegates. It is refreshing to see a single setting gathering together diplomats and scientists, and now artists too. The United Nations Office at Geneva plays host to a great number of meetings of experts, with many different backgrounds, and it is rewarding to see how these communities interact and can learn from each other.
The sculptures on display provide a visual reference for the microscopic agents we are discussing downstairs. At international meetings, such as ours, it is all too easy to forget the specific nature of the topics which we consider. We often operate in the abstract. I hope that this exhibition will inspire delegations and will help frame our deliberations in the world of disease.
Some of the exhibits are carefully modelled on nature. Mr. Jerram has made use of the very latest imaging techniques to ensure that these sculptures truly represent the agents of disease; just as I am sure that our efforts over the coming weeks will make use of every tool at our disposal to craft an outcome to the conference that truly reflects and confronts the challenges we face. Other sculptures you will see are the product of the artist’s imagination. He was able to draw inspiration from what exists to imagine what might be.
I think this too will be an important approach for us to adopt. We must push the bounds of what we can imagine and work ceaselessly to bring it to reality.
And speaking of the future, I am delighted to welcome to the Palais one of the young scientists who is going to help shape it. We heard this morning the wise words of Ms. Esther Ng, and I was greatly reassured to hear such a clear and resolute vision of the role of scientists in ensuring that the life sciences are used only for the benefit of humanity.
Je vous souhaite à tous une très bonne session et tiens à vous redire le plaisir qui est le mien de vous accueillir dans ce bâtiment très spécifique. Je me réjouis également d’ajouter un autre chapitre à l’histoire culturelle et diplomatique déjà très riche du Palais des Nations.
Je vous remercie de votre attention.