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UNICEF hosts award ceremony in honour of Madame Eve Labouisse

© UNICEF/HQ05-0894/Toutounji
Newly promoted member of the French Legion of Honour Madame Eve Labouisse poses with UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman and France’s Ambassador to the UN, Jean-Marc de la Sablière, during the award ceremony.

By Sabine Dolan

NEW YORK, 13 JULY 2005 – UNICEF House in New York City was the venue this week for an award ceremony honouring Madame Eve Labouisse, the illustrious centenarian daughter of Pierre and Marie Curie - and a great contributor to the advancement of the human cause in her own right.

Madame Labouisse decorated with Order of Chivalry

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman hosted the intimate event, which promoted Madame Labouisse to the rank of ‘Officier de la Légion d’Honneur’ of the Republic of France - the country’s highest decoration. “Madame Labouisse, we at UNICEF pay tribute to you for the great contributions you have made to humanity, which are a credit not only to the people of France, but to the world community as well,” said Ms. Veneman.

Highlights of Madame Labouisse’s remarkable life

Throughout her incredible life, Eve Denise Curie played many roles: she was an accomplished pianist performing concerts across Europe; in 1937 she became the award-winning author of a biography she wrote on her Nobel-prize winning mother, Marie Curie; during the Second World War she became a war correspondent reporting from various fronts, including Libya, Russia, Burma and China. Later in life, she also worked as advisor to the Secretary General of NATO, published the evening newspaper ‘Paris Presse’ and wrote features for the ‘International Herald Tribune’.

© UNICEF/HQ05-0894/Toutounji
France’s Ambassador to the UN, Jean-Marc de la Sablière, awards Madame Eve Labouisse with France’s most prestigious award: the ‘Légion d'Honneur’.

In 1954 she married Henry R. Labouisse, a UN diplomat who later became UNICEF’s Executive Director for 15 years. During this time, Eve Labouisse became known as the ‘First Lady of UNICEF’: “Mrs. Labouisse played a very active role beside her husband and travelled extensively with him to advocate for children and to support and encourage staff serving under difficult circumstances,” Ms. Veneman said. “She was his most trusted counsellor, whose sharp instinct and intellect rested on a thorough understanding of human and international problems that she had acquired as war correspondent during World War II.”

France's Ambassador to the United Nations decorates Madame Labouisse

France’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Jean-Marc de la Sablière, decorated Madame Labouisse with the medal in recognition of her commitment to “freedom, dignity, development and the well-being of children.

“This is a very important event. Eve Curie Labouisse is the daughter of Marie Curie and she is a very modern and independent woman. A woman who has had a very outstanding life. During the Second World War, she had been very brave and fought with the ‘Forces Françaises Libres’ (the Free French Army) and then she was a journalist, a war correspondent - and she was honoured with the Croix de Guerre in 1944.”

After the ceremony, Madame Labouisse said she was honoured to receive the decoration. “I feel honoured, I feel proud. I’m a little embarrassed because I don’t think I deserve all those wonderful compliments, so I just don’t quite know how to behave. But it’s a really wonderful day for me and I will remember it for a very long time.” Sustained by the extraordinary experiences of her remarkable life, Madame Labouisse remains to this day an honorary board member of the US Fund for UNICEF.




12 July 2005:
New York correspondent Sabine Dolan reports on the award ceremony in honour of Madame Eve Labouisse.

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