4th Symposium On Fragility, Paris

“We are in need of communities where we can meet together as different” said Jean Vanier during the 4th symposium on “Fragilities Forbidden?”.  He used the perfect words to describe what participants were experiencing at that precise moment: a community of reflection and exchange of ideas between thinkers, associations, businesses and people with intellectual disabilities or fragile. 

The symposium  “Fragilities Forbidden?” 2016 brought together more than 1,300 people in Paris on the 26th and 27th of November. It was the fourth in series since 2009 at the initiative of L’Arche France. The theme was “Together, revisit brotherhood”.

Prepared in partnership with a group of associations, it allowed the question of fragility to be considered in a large perspective: disabilities, social precariousness, exclusion, reception of migrants, end of life, psychological illness, burn out and problems related to fragility in the workplace.

The event involved over 200 volunteers, and gathered philosophers, corporate leaders, artists, educators, sportsmen, carers, etc., all of whom were concerned on one level or another by the question of fragility. The originality of this year’s edition was that expertise and teaching came both from “carers” and those who are “cared for”.

The presence on stage and in workshops of people who are “fragile” positioned fragility not as an accident to be dealt with, an incident to be resolved but as a radical and founding human experience susceptible of generating resources, skills and energy essential to society. 

Roundtable ‘Carers-Cared for’ in plenary discussion

Alexandre Bordes (Simon de Cyrène) and Eugène Etouké Mbassi (L’Arche Paris) gave the principal testimonials.

Roundtable: fragility and business (Bertrand Ballarin HR Manager Michelin, Severin Cabannes, CEO Société Générale, Hubert de Boisredon CEO Armor)


“Someone who makes no mystery of his fragility is the most reliable partner.”

– Eric Bellion, navigator participating in the « Vendée Globe », sponsor of the symposium.