Les discoursRéception Ligue Henri IV de San Francisco, anglais

Ladies and gentlemen, dear cousins from California, dear friends from the new world.

It’s an honor and a great pleasure to welcome you today for this special session devoted to special guests.

Now Near and Far echo each other, just like those who left their native land but kept it for ever in their hearts. By being here today, you accomplish the dream of your ancestors.  You are their pride and our pride.

Can you imagine what they felt when for various reasons they sailed to America knowing that it was a no-return trip. Now it’s different. In our global world, the concept of departure has no longer the same meaning. You can fly all over the world, knowing that you can come back home any time.

You have preserved and strengthened the ties between the old and the new world, however the native land of your ancestors remains unforgettable. By creating an association such as The League of Henry IV, you perpetuate the will of some men and women who declared themselves inhabitants of the pays because they spoke the same language, evoked the same landscapes and shared the same memories. Mind you, by calling your association “League of Henry IV”, you claim your belonging to a real or supposed royal descent. This does also brings us together. So be greeted by the Academy, dear American cousins, as it befits special hosts.

But what is our Academy ?

It was created on April 24, 1924 at the Château de Pau by Dr Sabatier, the 1st President, who wanted to highlight its usefulness and prestige after the terrible first World War when America came to the rescue of the Allies.

Dr Sabatier defined the Academy in these terms : “At the time when Bearn had the advantage to have an elite of writers, artists and scholars, it seemed legitimate to create a learned society whose aim was to protect and develop this movement. The emblem chosen was the “Marguerite”, ( “daisy” in English”) an evocation of Marguerite of Navarre, sister of King Francis I, mother of Jeanne d’Albret and grandmother of Henry IV who was the protector of artists and scholars.

Our Academy is the heiress of the Academies of the 18th and 19th centuries who devoted themselves to music, letters and arts. Some of the most prominent figures in the world of literature, art, politics and religion were members of our Academy. Among famous writers who were awarded the famous Goncourt literary prize, we can mention : Jean-Louis Curtis, Joseph Peyré who, in his book, “Jean Le Basque” describes the emigration of Bearnais and Basque people in the Americas.

Some other writers, such as Paule Constant, Charles de Bordeu, Tristan Derème, Paul Mirat who was a painter but also a writer and a politician, a famous sculptor Ernest Gabard, a musician Francis Planté, member of the Academy of Medicine, Jacques Doléris and some clerics such as the abbé Brémont, member of the “Académie française”, the prestigious French Academy and Pierre Eyt, a Cardinal.

 Finally among the politicians, let’s mention : Louis Barthou, who held several important ministerial positions and became President of the Council of Ministers ; Léon Bérard, Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts and now our Mayor, François Bayrou, who was Minister of National Education and then of Justice.

Today the Academy devotes its attention to the study of the preservation and development of culture both in local and global terms referring both to our roots and its implication in the world. We have a website dedicated to its activities : academiedebearn.org.

The Academy, like every learned society has a ritual by which every Academician passes before being admitted as such. It’s a formal sitting, most often in the Parliament of Navarre, during which the new member is inducted. From then on, he will wear, according to the custom, the insignia of the “Marguerite”.

Marguerite, the Princess, was famous for her grace, spirit and culture. Very much involved in the world of literature, religion and the Renaissance. In the 16th century, the Princess, informally known as “Queen Margot” was the protector of poets : du Bellay, Ronsard and all the poets of the Pleiade. Her aim was to reduce what was called “The monster Ignorance” by the diffusion of ancient culture in the humanist spirit of the Renaissance. She wrote several books, including the Heptameron, which earned her the nickname of “tenth muse”. That’s one of the reasons why she chose the daisy, which is of the same  family of the marigold, “a flower having more affinity with the sun than any other”.

Queen Margot’s motto was in latin “Ubi spiritus ibi libertas” which means “where there is spirit, there is liberty.”

Now  comes the time for the President to proceed to the award ceremony.

Thank you very much.

Samedi 23 septembre 2017