Global health – Videoconference on the World Health Organization’s WHO Academy (18 December 2020)


The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Solidarity and Health, Mr Olivier Véran, and Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Ms Frédérique Vidal, organized a meeting on 18 December 2020, along with the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to present the WHO Academy project.

Mr Grégory Doucet, Mayor of Lyon, Mr Bruno Bernard, President of the Lyon Metropolis, and Mr Yannick Neuder, Vice-President of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Council, were in attendance, and Mr Xavier Darcos, Chancellor of the Institut de France, was also invited.

The WHO Academy project was launched in Geneva by the President of the French Republic and the WHO Director-General on 11 June 2019.

The Academy, which will be based in Lyon, is to become the world’s leading centre for training health professionals as well as political and business leaders and civil society representatives as regards the major challenges of global public health, including the response to public health crises, personnel protection, and public outreach. Each year, its innovative methods will be used to train up to 10 million people online and 60,000 in person.

The Academy will be launched officially in May 2021 during the World Health Assembly session, and will move into the headquarters being built for it in Lyon, in the Biodistrict Lyon-Gerland, from 2023. It will be a global hub, and will shine a light on France and the Lyon region, its scientific and academic assets, and its business fabric. The Academy is a tangible demonstration of France’s commitment to integrated health, based on interdisciplinary training.

Supported by national and local government and the World Health Organization, the WHO Academy will also involve the private sector. Several companies, including Mérieux, Sanofi, Total, the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône and JC Decaux, have already expressed support. A foundation, hosted by the Institut de France, has also been created to collect the first financial contributions, and Mr Gérard Mestrallet has been tasked by the government to develop the Academy’s private partnerships.

The meeting was an opportunity to present the Academy, its goals and its implementing schedule in detail, as well as to very strongly reaffirm the commitment of all stakeholders to completing this pivotal project for global health.