Saturday, June 07, 2008

This week

Monday morning the awards for the poster competition for Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month were distributed in Committee Room 3 by the Minister, Andrew Adonis, and me. There was a very good attendance from the winners, their parents and teachers, who were all agreed that it was an excellent start to the History Month.

Afternoon, Select Committee on Intergovernmental Organisations, meeting to consider the structure and themes of the report on the UK's contribution to organisations dealing with HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

Tuesday, question on Zimbabwe (, a slow-motion catastrophe in which the international community demonstrates its impotence.

Evening, to the National History Museum for the launch of Darwin 200, the bicentenary of his birth.

Wednesday, very agreeable lunch with Philippe Labreveux and friends including George Hayim, born 1920, who gave me his autobiography. I told him I didn't read anything about modern times for pleasure, but this is definitely an exception.

Thursday, three hourse evidence taking in the All-Party Committee on Pneumococcal Disease. These diseases kill a million chidren every year, and it may be asked why the Select Committee didn't cover them in its terms of reference.

Dinner with Tameem Ebrahim from Singapore, who was on the last leg of a 3-week trip covering most of the globe. I hadn't seen him for several months, and it was good to catch up, though we're in touch by email and occasionally Skype.

Friday, to the Norwegian Embassy for a lunch in honour of Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Prizewinning Iranian judge and human rights activist. Then to Lady Rothermere's for a meeting of the Friends of the Alola Foundation, which is concerned with promoting the interests of women and children in East Timor. Patricia Mirrlees reported on her visit to East Timor, and to Atauro Island where a kindergarten had been constructed with our help. The building was only being used for the children two hours a day, and we wondered if it might also double as a local centre for maternal and infant health.

Morton and Sarah arrived from Washington to visit.

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