Dr. Peter Piot appointed as Honorary Chairman of the Solvay Solidarity Fund
The UK-based microbiologist known for co-discovering Ebola will advise the fund in its support to Solvay employees, charities and research groups in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
Brussels, September 23, 2020
Solvay is honored to announce the appointment of Baron Peter Piot, the world-renowned Belgian microbiologist, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Professor of Global Health, as Honorary Chairman of the Solvay Solidarity Fund.
The Solvay Solidarity Fund was launched on April 9, 2020 to provide additional support, both financial and non-financial, to any Solvay employee and dependents who may experience hardship due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, the fund aims to provide additional support to COVID-19 charitable and research organizations, an aspect of the overall mission on which Dr. Piot will bring particular advice.
"We are only at the beginning of this pandemic and it's important now more than ever that we show solidarity to overcome the unprecedented challenges ahead," explained Dr. Piot. "I was inspired by the quick action taken by Solvay to build this infrastructure to support its own employees and organizations in need, as they will undoubtedly face severe impacts from the consequences of COVID-19. I am honored to offer counsel to the Solvay Solidarity Fund as it seeks to expand its support in the months and years to come."
Dr. Piot co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire while working at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and led research on HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and women's health, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. His academic career included teaching and management postings in many prestigious institutions, in Brussels, Nairobi, Washington, London and Paris. He is a member of national science and medicine academies in Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.
He was the founding Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1995 until 2008, and was an Associate Director of the Global Programme on AIDS of the WHO. He now shares his expertise in many different organizations and, most recently, was appointed as Special Advisor to the President of the European Commission on research and innovation for COVID-19. He has published over 600 scientific articles and 17 books, including his memoir 'No Time to Lose' in 2012 (WW Norton), translated into French, Dutch, Japanese and Korean, and 'AIDS between science and politics' in 2015 (Columbia University Press).
“Baron Peter Piot is one of the world’s pre-eminent experts on viral diseases,” commented Solvay CEO Ilham Kadri. “We are very pleased and grateful, as he brings his international experience and reputation to support the global expansion of the Solvay Solidarity Fund’s activities.”
The Solvay Solidarity Fund, which has already raised more than €15 million, is administered by the King Baudouin Foundation. The fund has already approved 70 applications for assistance since June. Employees have also been offered more than 800 days off to care for loved ones by donations from other colleagues.
The aim of the Solvay Solidarity Fund is to take the Group's Purpose—bonding people, ideas and elements to reinvent progress—a step further by supporting its employees and communities through hardship due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
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