May I first thank Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon for the inspiration and for the leadership that brought all of us here at this time under these circumstances. Every major development in human history, every revolution, every dramatic change in the quality of life of people living in different parts of the world always started with one person; a person that had the courage to step forward when most other people could not; a person who had the vision to look forward when most other people did not; a person who had the imagination, the creativity, the fearless attitude to try something that has never been tried before and to take the risk because he believed that this can make a difference in the lives of people.

This person in our time at this place is Dame Professor Sarah Catherine Gilbert. She had the courage to dream what appeared to many to be impossible. She had the imagination to think of something that can make a difference when most other people in every part of the world was preoccupied with the fears, that genuine natural fears of the pandemic which spread across the world and which threatened the lives of so many people.

She started, and when she started she moved forward. And when she moved forward our life became safer and there was hope. She was not the only one obviously. There were others.

But I think that she represents the courage, the wisdom, the scientific expertise, the experience, and most important of all, the ability to look forward rather than to be tied up to the present and fear to take the one step ahead of others that will make the difference. Thank you, professor, for what you have done. 

There could be no impart for the creation of this vaccine had there not been an organization that could reach out for all those who need the vaccine so that they will be able to benefit from it. There are millions in the farthest places; there are millions in Africa, in South America, in Europe, in East Asia. Low-income people and low-income countries which were unable to somehow reach for the sources of these vaccines in order to use it to save the lives of their citizens, of their people. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, did it.

It has been an outstanding achievement, which manifested resourcefulness, creativity, strength, and absolute dedication. Devotion of thousands of people across the world could bring the billions of dollars for those whose lives were saved by this. I am sure although I was not officially authorized, but I have this feeling that while all of you sit with your masks and I can’t even see your faces, that I speak for you when I thank them. 

Thank you very much.