|Breastfeeding: from Biology to Policy (UNSSCN, 1998, 28 p.)|
Richard Jolly: Thank you for that wonderful demonstration and that wonderful example with the pictures of your community leadership and creativity. Thank you for so many good ideas that I hope the SCN, as well as the individual agencies, will find to act on. It was a wonderful lecture and I thank you for it. I would like to give the final word to George Beaton to remind us about Abraham Horwitz.
George Beaton: Thank you Mr Chairman. I want to take this opportunity to say two things if I may. One is to again thank our speaker. When you started speaking you said that you had received a fax inviting you to speak and you were surprised, then you were proud, then you began to wonder why. Today you presented a lecture that said that you should never have been surprised, you should be proud, yes, but you should never ask why. What you have done today, besides the content - which was beautiful - is remind us why we are in this room. It is to help people like you on the front line - people who are really doing things - that is why we exist. And I thank you very much for your lecture and for reminding us.
Richard, I will now, if I may, turn to the lecture itself and what it commemorates. I have had the pleasure of knowing Dr Horwitz for quite a while. What we must recognize is that what we collectively know of him is his third career. He really built his acclaim in Chile. He was a fundamental builder of the health system in Chile, which stood up very well. Through all that happened in Chile, it survived. He was then very important in building PAHO. He wasn't the builder, but he was an extremely important element; he shaped the structure and made it a force for the betterment of health in Latin America. And that was his second career. I recall when he left the paid staff of PAHO, he was then looking for a third career. In PAHO, he had become very interested in nutrition. At one time he even tried to recruit me into the nutrition section - I didn't accept - but he did have a role in my life, because it was Dr Horwitz who sent me on a short leave to Guatemala, which got me interested in international nutrition, so he is to blame for my being here!
We must recognize the contribution that he made to all of us collectively. Dr Horwitz served for 11 consecutive years and sessions as chairman of the SCN, but he also served for 4 years before that as chairman of the AGN. So we're talking about a 15-year span when Dr Horwitz was very influential in this organisation. When I was writing the SCN history, I contacted a number of you for your recollections - favourable or unfavourable - of the SCN, and what it was. I was amazed at the number of comments I got back about Dr Horwitz, all favourable. I will read you only two of them because I think they are very germane.
The first comment came from John Evans, who was chairman of the SCN when Dr Horwitz was Chairman of the AGN. John drew attention to Dr Horwitz as a man, noting the 'incredible example of the intellect, integrity, diplomacy and charm, represented by the ageless Dr Horwitz'. And that was the theme of many remarks.
I think of another thing that characterised his role in the SCN - I think it was Leslie Burgess who remarked that with the incoming of Dr Horwitz, the SCN had a chairman who had the time and the interest to really put into practice what the SCN had said it wanted.
I think that Horwitz as an individual, Horwitz as a leader in nutrition, and Horwitz as a believer in the SCN is all commemorated in this lecture and I hope you will join me in celebrating Dr Horwitz and his life in nutrition.